COVID-19 Crisis Ended Several Years of Record-High Labour Market Performance - Bulgarian Industrial Association

NW 17:29:32 25-06-2020

COVID-19 Crisis Ended Several Years
of Record-High Labour Market Performance -
Bulgarian Industrial Association

Sofia, June 25 (BTA) - Radosvet Radev, President of the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), said the situation caused by COVID-19 put an end to the record-high performance of the labour market in Bulgaria in recent years. He addressed a virtual HR conference on "Re:Start HR", organized by the Bulgarian Association for People Management, BIA said on Thursday.

Radev said that although 137,000 people registered as unemployed between March 13 and May 22, including 88,000 directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, their number was way below early projections for 200,000-plus job losses. BIA noted that employers resort to layoffs as a last remedy. To save jobs, they cut work hours, reduce wages, stop paying bonuses, or ask staff to take paid or unpaid leave.

The BIA President commented that the 60/40 job retention scheme was not key to keeping unemployment down. By early June, 15,286 applications had been filed for 259,256 employees. Overall, 73 million leva were paid (out of a budget of about one billion leva) to 11,000 employers (about 3 per cent of the total) for keeping more than 170,000 jobs (out of a total of 2,250,000 jobs). Back in March, a BIA poll found that a mere 8 per cent of employers were planning to apply - a figure confirmed by a poll taken by the National Statistical Institute. The NSI reported later that 18.5 per cent of companies resorted to layoffs or job cuts. This proves that the scheme is not effective and that employers would rather slash jobs than access it.

The biggest reduction in force occurred in trade, transportation, storage and post, hotels and restaurants (31,200 people), mining and quarrying, manufacturing, energy, water and sewerage, and recycling (22,500 people), and agriculture, forestry and fisheries (19,600 people). Employment increased in state governance, education, health care and social services (12,800 people), telecommunications (6,900 people), construction (3,600 people), culture, sport and recreation (3,000 people), finance and insurance (1,500 people) and real estate (700 people)

Compared to March 2019, this last March saw 54,000 fewer people in jobs, the decrease being largest in hotels and restaurants (25,000 people) and manufacturing (21,000 people). RY/DD