About 70% of women who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to return to work, while many of the rest failed due to their involvement in home services such as looking after the elderly and children, finds a World Bank study.
It also found that almost all men have returned to work, but many are unable to earn the same as before the pandemic – meaning that the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 can be prolonged.
"Many people have become poor again due to the pandemic," World Bank Senior Economist (Poverty and Equity Global Practice) Ayago Wambile said while presenting the study report at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) in the capital on Wednesday.
Complete information about the impact of the coronavirus-induced pandemic on employment, income, poverty, education, health and human resources is yet to be available, speakers at the event said and called for an extensive survey on the impact.
They also urged the government to ensure adequate preparations to face such crises in the future.
BIDS Director General Binayak Sen stressed introducing an acceptable measure to define vulnerability and providing updated data on poverty.
"We did not get an answer to the whole issue of what have been the trends in poverty. The unemployment rate doubled in the Covid period from 9% to 18%. Then what would be the scenario of the poverty rate is important."
"We are measuring poverty in terms of consumption and income. But the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that even those who are not poor in consumption or income may be vulnerable because they have not enough savings."
Titled "Socio-Economic Impacts and Policy Responses to Covid-19 Pandemic in Bangladesh: Lessons for the Future", the study shows that the participation of people aged 15 to 64 in the labour market has decreased to 49% from 51%.
"Unemployment rose from 9% to 18% in two phases of the pandemic," said the survey conducted in Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar.
Besides, at least 31% of households did not have average earnings of Tk25,000 for meeting their emergency needs during the peak hours of the pandemic, it added and said that the number of such families, however, fell to 4% in May last.
"There were all the indications that the economy bounced back sharply from the impact of Covid-19. But, it has been a V-shape recovery. The situation is getting worse again due to the Russia-Ukraine war," Kazi Iqbal, senior research fellow at the BIDS, said as he attended the event as a designated discussant.