JOB vacancies in Cebu have dropped by a record 80 percent as the province shuts down commerce, a fresh sign the coronavirus pandemic is pushing a major labor-market crisis.
Wesley Chiongbian, president of Cebu-based online job portal Mynimo.com, also estimated that the number of hiring companies in Cebu have decreased by 80 percent since the province was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Surprisingly, he also said that even the number of home-based jobs has gone down.
He singled out the tourism industry taking the biggest economic hit.
“We foresee that the tourism industry, its labor force and complementary businesses will struggle the most to recover, until a Covid-19 vaccine is available,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Chiongbian pointed out that government aid is needed to prevent business closures and further job losses.
Mynimo’s data represents the entire Cebu province although the specific numbers of current job listings and hiring firms weren’t shared.
“Aside from the industries allowed by the government to operate, other businesses have practically stopped operations during ECQ,” Chiongbian noted.
Most enterprises in Cebu have temporarily shut operations to heed the government’s order, forcing them to let go of some of their workers.
“We think government support, especially for small and medium enterprises is vital to prevent business closures and further job losses,” he said.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in Central Visayas, around 241 businesses have temporarily closed their operations, hitting 6,825 workers as of March 30, 2020.
Affected workers mostly come from the manufacturing, restaurant, retail, lending, resort and hotel industries. At least 425 companies in the region have also made flexible work schemes, affecting 22,679 workers, the Dole said.
Earlier, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more worldwide job losses than the global financial crisis of 2008. The Geneva-based group estimated the outbreak could eradicate as many as 25 million jobs.
Based on different scenarios for the impact of Covid-19 on global gross domestic product growth, the ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million on “low” scenario and 24.7 million on “high” scenario from a base level of 188 million in 2019.
The institute also said workers could suffer income losses of up to US$3.4 trillion by the end of this year, translating to weaker consumption of goods and services.
It also warned of a big increase in underemployment as working hours and wages are cut, with the number of working poor likely to rise significantly. The most vulnerable are likely to be those in less-protected and low-paid jobs, particularly younger and older employees, women and migrant workers.