Massive layoffs

"Rising unemployment worsens the poverty problem and will eventually stir unrest in the population."

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rear its ugly head on the economic front.

Several companies worldwide in recent days have announced plans to lay off thousands of workers as their response to the global economic slump. It is the reality of the situation. More people will lose their jobs as the pandemic wears on and as the global economy contracts on reduced demand.

The travel industry is among the early casualties of the virus outbreak. Lockdowns in many countries restricted travel, with airline companies, hotels and other tourism establishments partially or completely shutting down their operations.

Emirates, one of the world's biggest carriers, is cutting jobs without specifying the number, after the coronavirus forced the Dubai-based airline to ground its fleet. It announced early in March temporary cuts of between 25 percent and 50 percent in basic salaries for most employees after halting its operations. The airline employs a workforce of around 100,000, many of them Filipinos, with a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft.

Lufthansa of Germany, meanwhile, announced plans to reduce 22,000 full-time jobs on expectations that recovery in demand for travel would be muted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here in the Philippines, 1Aviation Groundhandling Services Corp., the service provider of Cebu Pacific and Cebgo, is terminating over 1,000 employees as the aviation industry continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global automotive industry is not spared from the telling effects of the virus outbreak. Renault is cutting 15,000 jobs worldwide, including 4,600 in France. Swedish truck maker Volvo, one of the world's largest, is slashing 4,100 white-collar jobs.

The US, the world's biggest economy, has its own bad unemployment numbers. Layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic have reached 44.2 million in the American nation as it grapples with the surging virus outbreak.

The Philippines is experiencing the same unemployment shock, especially in the services sector where hundreds of thousands of restaurant crew, mall sales people, hotel personnel and business process outsourcing agents are working.

Reopening the economy quickly is the best solution to stave off massive layoffs. The Philippines cannot afford an increasing number of jobless people. Rising unemployment worsens the poverty problem and will eventually stir unrest in the population.

Topics: Editorial , Massive layoffs , global economy , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19 pandemic
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