Thousands of Bangladeshis already have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic and the worst of the damage is yet to come, according to top economists on macro economy and service sector estimated.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a macro-economist and public policy analyst, Member, CPD Board of Trustees and Distinguished Fellow Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) told Business Mirror Monday that total employment reductions might be 1.7 million, which would translate to a 30% unemployment rate may occur if the situation worsen.

Industry like leisure, health tourism, aviation, entertainment, dairy, poultry, fishery, non traditional export items like crab, kuicha, human hair will hit the burn first, Mr. Bhattacharya said.

 The projections are even worse than Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya by some other economist. They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost as government-induced economic freeze aimed at halting the coronavirus spread continues.

“These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the Bangladesh Economy in the last 49 years,” Veteran economist, having experience running Finance Ministry Office couple of years Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam said..

They don’t account for workers who may drop out of the labor force, thus bringing down the headline unemployment rate, and they do not estimate the impact of recently passed government stimulus, which will extend unemployment benefits and subsidize companies for not cutting staff, Dr. Selim Raihan is a Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) said.

However, the jobless picture already looks bleak.

Although the country has no payroll count many of the small and medium enterprise (SME) have cut their staff job because their owners will not able to resume normal business operation after covid.

“The Covid 19 will shift the nature of people behabiour. It will make many products unnecessary for the life style shifting of the people,”  Selim Raihan said.

Many of the SME entrepreneurs will not able to resume their business operation due to loss of their capital. Many will left their business to open new one which are to be needed for the post viral scenario. 

” They are sales, production, food preparation and services. Other research also identified 1.0 lakh  people working in “high contact-intensive” jobs such as barbers and stylists, airline attendants, and food and beverage service.” Selim Raihan added will loss their job.

Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges award for extraordinary activism  winner Bangladeshi labour activist Kalpona Akter  in an interview with  Business Mirror last week, defy the economists prediction saying “will be unparalleled, but don’t get discouraged. This is a special quarter, and once the virus goes away and if we play our cards right and keep everything intact, then everyone will go back to work and everything will be fine.”

 She is the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity.

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