Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the novel coronavirus could cost up to one million jobs, as many industries considered not essential remain shut.
The Mexican economy was already in recession before the pandemic struck and some investment banks have forecast an economic contraction as large as 9 percent this year, with only a gradual recovery in 2021.
“My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost,” Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech on Sunday. “But we will create two million new jobs.”
The job loss number matches the estimate by the country’s business coordinating council, CCE.
Lopez Obrador’s government has repeatedly said it has the outbreak under control but has since posted record numbers for new cases and deaths.
Earlier this month, his government issued guidelines for restarting operations in carmaking, mining and construction in Latin America’s second-largest economy that is linked to the United States and Canada through a free trade agreement.
Lopez Obrador said on May 14 that the reopening of economic, social and educational activities would be “cautious and gradual”, beginning with regions of the country least affected by the disease. The plan includes a “traffic light” coding system that will inform the public in different states which businesses and activities are safe to resume.
In April, the finance ministry said in an annual economic report used to guide the budget that the economy could contract by as much as 3.9 percent this year, adding that the numbers incorporated a “drastic” impact from coronavirus.