Vietnam says 31 million workers impacted by pandemic, risk of rising unemployment

If solutions to drive business activity were not immediately implemented, there could be 5 million more people out of work by the end the year.

Labourers wear protective masks as they work at a private Ngoc Nu factory which makes blankets, pillows and mattresses for the local market after the government eased nationwide lockdown following the outbreak. Photo/REUTERS | Astro Awani
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted about 31 million workers in Vietnam, with 900,000 out of work and nearly 18 million people receiving less income than before, a government agency said on Friday.

If solutions to drive business activity were not immediately implemented, there could be 5 million more people out of work by the end the year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said.

Vietnam has reported just 369 coronavirus cases, with no deaths. It has been 81 days without domestic transmission, owing to successful programmes to contain the virus.

Its economy has suffered, however, with second quarter growth at its slowest pace in at least 30 years due to the impact of the pandemic, putting the government's 2020 economic targets well out of reach.

Vietnam's services sector has been the most heavily impacted, the GSO said, with 72% of workers affected. Labour in the industrial and agricultural sectors were the second and third most-affected.

"Workers are being negatively impacted by being laid off or having had their working hours reduced. The number of affected workers will continue to climb in the upcoming quarters," the GSO said in a statement.

"Urban unemployment rate in the second quarter hit the highest in 10 years, at 4.46% mostly because of the social distancing measure in April." (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)