Information regarding employment figures was released during a recent press conference to announce data relating to the nation’s current labour and employment situation in the year’s first quarter.
The General Statistics Office (GSO) stated that the rate of employed workers in the first quarter of the year has hit a decade-long low, with the figure accounting for roughly 75.4% of the population aged 15 and above, up to 1.3% lower than the previous quarter and the same period seen in other years.
The opening three months of the year saw close to 1 million workers affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19. Most notably, approximately 523,000 people have been suspended from work, over 403,000 workers have been left underemployed, whilst more than 47,000 people are on a break after being laid off or their firm has chosen to halt production.
As of mid-April, the number of affected labourers has risen to nearly 5 million, with the processing and manufacturing industries being the worst affected with 1.2 million unemployed, followed by wholesale and retail with 1.1 million staff out of work, and accommodation and catering services with 740,000 labourers now jobless.
Of these people, 59% haven chosen to take a temporary break from work, 28% were either job vacancies relating to people in rotation for a break from work, whilst 13% were out of work.
As a result, the nation’s unemployment rate endured a surge, coupled with the underemployment rate of workers aged 15 and above hitting a record five-year high. According to the GSO, the unemployment rate during the first quarter stood at 2.22%, representing a rise of 0.07% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, and an increase of 0.05% over the corresponding period last year.
According to a survey conducted by the GSO, roughly 85% of enterprises stated that they have faced difficulties caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. Of these, large and medium-sized enterprises were the most vulnerable with 90% stating that they had faced severe difficulties during the first four months of the year.