Young people below 24 years in Kenya suffered the largest job losses between January and March this year due to coronavirus, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show.
According to the bureau, there were 17.8 million Kenyans in the labour force in the first quarter of the year a 1.7% drop from 18.1 million registered in the previous quarter ended December 2019.
Employees above 55 years were the least affected by layoffs.
The quarterly job report indicated that tourism and hospitality industries registered the highest number of job losses in the quarter due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that continues to shutter economies worldwide.
Youths between ages 20 and 24 made the highest number of those out of the job market at 241,728 during the January to March period.
The relaxed unemployment rate for the first quarter 2020 was 13.7 percent showing a deterioration from the 12.4 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019.
According to the national census report released last year 5.4 million youth or 38.9 percent of the 13,777,600 young Kenyans are jobless and the government was targeting to reduce this by about 2 million in the medium term.
The KNBS report says in total about 8 million Kenyan have been rendered jobless in the January to march 2020 quarter.
The picture is likely to get worse once the April and May data are collected when Kenya imposed cessation of movements in five counties while issuing a dusk to dawn curfew while at the same time locking the Kenyan airspace to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Last week the Central Bank of Kenya warned that 7 out of small business are likely to fold operations by the end of this month unless radical measures are instituted to help them stay afloat.