by Mike Mookung Kim

  With the Indonesian economic growth shrinking to -3.49% during the Q3(OECD) of 2020 and projected to decline again at -2.5%(estimation) later this year (IMF), Indonesian faces another challenge for young adults. Unfortunately, still many informal employment practices are common in Indonesia with employing more than 60% of total labor forces (Alatas and Newhouse, 2010, Firdausy, 2000). This is especially difficult time for those do not get social protection and those new job seekers. The job market is hitting the young generation hardly than ever before.  Of course, our daily life is all disrupted by this virus and its inevitable. But while older people face higher health and safety risks, younger people face greater social and financial difficulty from COVID-19. Youth unemployment has risen especially in developing economies after the lockdown in March and young people are more likely to be unemployed than adult. Many studies showed that the young adult aged 27 or younger dropped the most than any other groups during the COVID-19 pandemic (ILO, 2020).

  Although there is a hope for vaccine for COVID-19 virus next year, we are still in the midst of this pandemic and the outlook is worse in the near future.  And its worsening the labor conditions here for people who are preparing to enter the new labor market. Young generation are feeling depressed and frustrated for their future. But this is not short-term risk, but they need to confront by changes for pressures which is tough and particularly hard on labors in informal sectors.  Providing more information and new trends in labor market, subsidizing wages and job relevant vocational trainings will significantly improve the skills of our potential labor forces.  We should learn from past crises lessons. After the global financial crisis, young people were already vulnerable (ADB, 2020). Young people are cheap to fire and easily replaceable. Many fresh graduates are competing in limited positions. Stimulating the economy is important but it is imperative for policy makers in government and education sectors to take immediate actions now on youth employment issues. More robust and sustainable policy to build strong skills for young generation in Indonesia will protect vulnerable youth in labor market.