More than two million workers abandon major cities during pandemic

By Hong Chieu   January 6, 2022 | 06:30 am PT
More than two million workers abandon major cities during pandemic
Workers from southern Vietnam regions are led by traffic police to return to their hometowns, August 3, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
Around 2.2 million workers have left Vietnam’s major cities and returned to their hometowns over long-lasting pandemic impacts, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced Thursday.

As of December 15, 2021, around 524,000 and 447,000 workers left HCMC and Hanoi, respectively; 600,000 left other southern Vietnam localities; and over 676,000 localities in other regions, the GSO said.

Most of those who returned home were informal workers directly and immediately impacted by social distancing orders under Covid-19.

The GSO also said among those who left were around 839,000 workers aged 15 and above.

Pham Hoai Nam, head of the Population and Labor Statistics Department, said this large reverse migration has led to worker shortages in several industries including textile and leather. Those who went back to their hometowns have also found it difficult to get new jobs, requiring authorities to implement new labor policies to push job market recovery, he said.

However, towards the end of 2021, the labor market also showed signs of recovery. The number of people with jobs and average monthly income increased, while the unemployment rate decreased compared to the third quarter of the year. The shift followed widespread vaccination coverage and the government’s new strategy of adapting to Covid-19, the GSO said.

It said the number of employed workers aged 15 and above was at 49.1 million, or 1.8 million more than the previous quarter. Unemployment rate dropped from 3.98 percent to 3.56 percent from the previous quarter, while monthly average income increased by VND130,000 to VND5.3 million ($232.97).

Overall, however, the average income of workers in 2021 dropped from VND7.03 million to VND6.5 million compared to 2020. This means authorities need to have social welfare policies to help people secure jobs in the coming time, the GSO said.

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