1.3 mln migrants return home during pandemic

By Hong Chieu   October 12, 2021 | 03:00 am PT
1.3 mln migrants return home during pandemic
Migrant workers leave HCMC for their hometown in the Mekong Delta, October 1, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The General Statistics Office of Vietnam said about 1.3 million laborers had returned to their hometowns between July and Sept. 15 under pandemic impacts.

Data released Tuesday by GSO revealed of the 1.3 million workers, about 324,000 returned from Hanoi, 292,000 from Ho Chi Minh City and 450,000 from other southern localities.

The statistics do not include tens of thousands of people leaving for their hometowns in the countryside since early October, when HCMC and its neighboring provinces eased Covid-19 restrictions.

Among 930,000 people aged 15 and over that have returned to their hometown, about 34 percent still have jobs; 38 percent have been jobless or could not find a job under social distancing measures, while the rest did not dare go to work due to pandemic fears.

Pham Hoai Nam, head of the GSO's department of population and labor statistics, said "it is now quite difficult to attract workers back to industrial hubs and big cities" as Covid-19 prevention measures in those localities have made them worry and hesitate.

He explained that epidemic prevention and control policies are varied among provinces and cities and workers cannot predict their stability.

At the same time, businesses also expect authorities at all levels to have consistent policies and stop applying strict social distancing measures for a long period.

"We strongly recommend authorities at all levels impose synchronous anti-pandemic solutions among localities for businesses to restore production and migrant workers to return to work," Nam said.

Pandemic and prolonged social distancing measures have left significant impacts on the labor market, employment, and income in the third quarter.

The labor force in agriculture, forestry and fisheries had increased by 673,000 people in this period, a complete contrast to the previous trend. The main reason for this could be ascribed to people who lost their jobs at factories in southern industrial hubs across HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An who returned to their hometowns and worked in this industry.

Meanwhile, the number of employees in the industry-construction and service sectors had decreased sharply by more than 952,000 and 2.3 million respectively compared to previous quarters.

The average monthly income of employees fell to the lowest level in the past 10 years, dropping by VND877,000 to 5.2 million.

Workers in the service sector are the hardest hit with their average monthly income falling by VND1 million to 6.2 million. Those in the industry and construction sector suffered a decrease of VN906,000 to 5.8 million.

The agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sector is the area with the smallest decrease in average monthly income for employees, at about VND340,000, down to 3.4 million per month.

The unemployment rate among the working-age population (15-54) in the third quarter is also the highest in 10 years, at 3.98 percent, with 1.8 million jobless people.

The rate is higher in urban areas, at 5.3 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in rural areas. This is also an abnormal trend, according to the GSO.

Vietnam was hit by the fourth Covid-19 wave in late April. By far, it has been the most challenging the nation has ever face.

HCMC, the economic hub, became the epicenter and passed 120 days under different levels of social distancing since late May.

Its neighbors Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Long An, all industrial hubs are the second, third, and fourth hardest hit and have also undergone prolonged social distancing measures for months.

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