Youth labour market resilience during the COVID-19 crisis in three middle-income countries

Young people have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Despite support provided by governments, many young people had to rely on their individual capabilities and resources to adapt and react to these difficult times.

This paper explores why some young people have been more resilient than others during the Covid 19 crisis. It relies on data from the unique Young Lives Study, based at the University of Oxford, which has followed the life trajectories of a generation of children – who are now young adults – for the past two decades. This generation of youth entered the labour market at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The analysis in this paper focuses on three middle-income countries – India, Peru and Viet Nam – and highlights common patterns of individual responses to the crisis. The report finds that due to the particular characteristics of the COVID-19 crisis (with both demand and supply-side restrictions), individuals’ pre-pandemic labour market characteristics (such as their economic status as an employee or own-account worker or the economic sector in which they worked) tended to correlate with the varying measures of work resilience. Generally, their education and skills characteristics had much less significant roles.