MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has started getting people back to work again in August after losing 1.1 million formal jobs between March and July due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Saturday.
“We’ve stopped losing jobs,” Lopez Obrador said in a video posted on YouTube. “So far in August almost 15,000 new jobs have been created.”
Citing data from Mexico’s Social Security Institute, Lopez Obrador said 1.1 million formal jobs were lost between March and July, with the nadir in April with some 555,000 losses. That slowed to 3,900 formal job losses in July, he said.
The bulk of Mexicans work in the informal economy, and they have borne the brunt of job losses triggered by the pandemic’s effects on Latin America’s second-second largest economy.
The INEGI national statistics agency has said some 12 million jobs in total were lost between March and May, much of that stemming from temporary work suspensions caused by lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Nearly 5 million people returned to work in June, INEGI says, as the economy has reopened.
“The informal economy is also picking up. There’s more activity on the street,” said Lopez Obrador.
The president said that consumption is also picking up, thanks to social programs that benefit the poor and remittances, the bulk of which are sent home by the millions of Mexicans living in the United States.
He forecast that remittances could reach $40 billion in 2020, which would be a major boon for the Mexican economy which contracted by a historic 17.3% in the second quarter from the previous three months.
Remittances rose in June to $3.54 billion, the second highest level since records began in 1995.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)