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5m Workers Impacted by Coronavirus Outbreak in Q1, Statistics Office Says

As time goes by, the massive economic impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is becoming more clear.

Saigon Giai Phongreports that unemployment figures from the General Statistics Office (GSO) for the first quarter of 2020 were grim.

Vu Thi Thu Thuy, head of the Department of Population and Labor Statistics at the GSO, told the news source that the number of unemployed people in the working-age population at the end of the period was almost 1.1 million, an increase of 26,000 from the previous quarter.

This is the highest figure in the last five years. Meanwhile, the income growth rate in the first quarter was only half that of the same quarter in the previous year.

A GSO survey found that almost five million total workers are suffering negative impacts due to the pandemic, though these impacts aren't fully explained.

The manufacturing and processing industry has been the hardest-hit, with 1.2 million workers affected, while 1.1 million workers in the wholesale and retail industry have been hurt. Another 740,000 people in accommodation and catering are feeling the effects of the global health emergency.

Up to 70% of workers in the transport, warehousing and education sectors had been temporarily suspended from work in the middle of last month. In terms of companies, over 90% of large- and medium-sized enterprises faced difficulties in the first quarter, and the pain isn't over yet.

Phan Quang Vinh, deputy general director of the GSO, told the news source: "Until the end of the second quarter, the pandemic will remain a significant challenge for enterprises and workers."

While the central government has put forth policies to support businesses and workers hit by the outbreak, officials are also urging business owners and individuals to proactively improve their situation.

Thuy, for example, suggested to the news source that companies should update their processes and find new importers for materials, while also growing their network of export markets.

Prospective workers, meanwhile, are advised to improve their professional skills and adapt their soft skills to the evolving job market.