Covid-19 crisis hurts 31.8 million Vietnamese workers

By Nguyen Quy   October 6, 2020 | 05:30 am PT
Covid-19 crisis hurts 31.8 million Vietnamese workers
Employees at Taiwanese footwear maker Pouyuen Vietnam Co. Ltd in HCMC leave the company after work on April 8, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused 31.8 million workers aged 15 or more to either lose their jobs or have their working hours reduced.

As a result the nation’s labor force has shrunk by 1.2 million workers to 54.4 million in the January-September period, says a General Statistics Office (GSO) report released Tuesday.

Among the affected, 14 percent lost their jobs while others had their salaries or working hours reduced or had to take unpaid leave.

The service sector was hit hardest by the crisis with 68.9 percent of workers affected, followed by processing and manufacturing industries (66.4 percent) and agriculture (27 percent).

The labor force number rebounded in the third quarter after a record-breaking decline in the second quarter of this year but was still short of same period last year.

The report estimated the Q3 labor population aged 15 and above at 54.6 million people, up 1.4 million people against the previous quarter.

The average monthly income recorded in the third quarter was VND5.5 million ($236.52), up VND258,000 over the previous quarter.

The report said 1.2 million Vietnamese workers were out of work in the third quarter as a result of the second coronavirus outbreak that hit at least 15 localities, including major cities like Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang. The central city of Da Nang was the epicenter of the second outbreak.

Vietnam saw a third quarter unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, down 0.23 percentage points against the previous quarter. But the urban employment rate hit a 10-year high of 4 percent.

The national unemployment rate for the first nine months was 2.48 percent, 1.44 times that of the same period last year.

A third of the enterprises in a survey cited in the report said they had to cut staff because of the pandemic. Aviation sector had the highest job cuts at 99 percent, followed by tourism at 43 percent and hospitality 28 percent.

Vietnam has suspended all international flights and halted all foreign arrivals since late March. While a few international flights have resumed, the country remains closed to foreign tourists.

Experts said the economy was yet to recover from the fallout of the country's first Covid-19 outbreak that started in late January, and the second that hit in July was likely to worsen the labor market situation.

The government did not repeat a nationwide lockdown in the second outbreak. Instead, local social distancing measures were applied.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has estimated that 60,000-70,000 people will lose their jobs every month until the end of the year, mostly in the tourism, services, construction, transport, and manufacturing sectors.

Vietnam posted its lowest January-September GDP growth since 2011 at 2.12 percent. The country had achieved a 7.02 percent growth last year, the second highest in a decade.

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