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The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating effects around the globe. The unprecedented measures governments the world over took to contain the virus—such as lockdowns and business closures—have disrupted many economies, resulting in mass job losses and rendering millions jobless.
And Pakistan is no exception. A large number of Pakistanis have been directly or indirectly impacted by the pandemic, with a staggering 30 million, especially those at the bottom of the population pyramid, losing their jobs and livelihoods. Children, too, have been severely impacted, with some forever pushed out of the learning net due to the compounding effect of poverty and school closure.
According to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the number of employed people in the country before the pandemic was about 55.7 million.
Unfortunately, Covid-induced lockdowns led to a further 22% increase in unemployment, which reduced the number of employed people to 35 million.
Even worse, during the lockdown, 37% or about 26 million people lost their jobs while 12% or about 7 million people faced pay cuts.
According to the NGO Center for Labor Research (Pillar), Pakistan currently has about 26 million workers on a daily, weekly or monthly wage basis. Of these, about five million are paid on a daily basis, while four million are paid on a weekly basis.
According to the statistics released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the official death toll from the pandemic in the country in the fiscal year 2021 is 21,105. The total number of people affected was 928,588 (928,588). According to the report, the coronavirus in Pakistan has had a negative impact of 0.47% in the fiscal year 20-2021, of which, job losses are significant.
According to a special survey to assess the economic impact of the virus, about half of the working population affected by the virus was affected by the closure of businesses.
As a result of security measures like lockdown, 35% of the population engaged in various businesses was severely disturbed, leaving 35 million people unemployed. Before coronavirus prevention measures, the total number of employed people in the country was 55.7 million.
According to statistics, 74% of those facing unemployment belonged to the formal sector. Covid-19’s lockdown has left 80% of those in the construction sector unemployed or cut their wages, as well as 72% in manufacturing, 67% in transport and 67% in the wholesale and retail sectors. 63% of people either lost their jobs or faced pay cuts.
According to the IMF report, Pakistan is unlikely to improve in the 2021 fiscal year. According to the IMF report, the growth rate in the economy will be 1.5%. It should be noted that the World Bank has also forecast 1.3% growth for the current fiscal year.
According to estimates, small and medium enterprises have lost billions of rupees between 2020 and 2021.
The EMF has pointed out that due to the pandemic and economic slowdown, 40% of the population is now feared to be below the poverty line.
If the IMF’s fears come true, the number of people living below the poverty line in the country could exceed 80 million.
According to the IMF, Pakistan’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in 2019, rising to 4.5% in 2020, and is now projected to reach 5.1% in 2021, due to fears of a fourth wave. Again, the country can move towards smart lockdown.
Rising inflation and unemployment, as well as measures to prevent the imminent fourth wave, are major challenges facing the PTI-led government.