Mexico’s economy shed 344,526 formal jobs in May because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, pushing the number of lost jobs in the last three months above 1 million even as the pace of layoffs slowed down.
Widespread confinement measures in place since late March have ravaged Mexico’s economy, second largest in Latin America. Economists predicted it would suffer its biggest recession in decades.
In April, the economy shed 555,247 jobs and 130,593 in March, among employees registered with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has sought to play down the severity of the economic hit and previously said fewer than a million formal jobs would be lost to the pandemic.
But just three months into the health crisis in Mexico and that threshold has already been passed with losses from March to May totalling 1.03 million.
Those figures don’t include the informal sector, which represents 56% of all jobs in Mexico.
The government had planned an unwinding from anti-coronavirus measures and broad economic reopening to start from June 1, but surging deaths and infections have kept nearly the entire country in the highest red phase of contagion alert, dampening expectations for major changes.
That spells bad news for jobs, especially for the 31 million Mexicans working in the informal sector.
“The crisis exacerbates inequity and the critical employment conditions for those who have the least,” said economist Jose Luis de la Cruz.
Reporting by Sharay Angulo and Alberto Fajardo; Additional reporting and writing by Anthony Esposito; editing by Grant McCool