After people were vaccinated with two doses and social distancing measures were relaxed, the number of people having jobs began to bounce back. Job shortages have been improved considerably, especially in manufacturing and construction. In the fourth quarter of 2021, many manufacturing sectors were restored, workers’ incomes improved and the unemployment rate declined from the previous three months. Nationwide, the number of people with jobs rose by 1.82 million, from the July-September period.
But the job picture in 2021 was still primarily grim as it was the second consecutive year that the income of wage earners had fallen. Although the labour market is recovering, many indicators have yet to reach the pre-pandemic figures. The people who regained jobs are mainly in the informal sector. The job shortage rate in urban areas is now higher than in rural areas, which is in contrast with the trend seen before the pandemic. It is notable that there is now a large gap between supply and demand in the labour market.
In previous years, the ratio of workers who were not fully utilised was only around 4%, but rose to a record high of 10.4% in the third quarter of 2021, indicating that the market faced a major shock due to COVID-19. In addition, about 2.2 million workers have migrated back to their rural hometowns in order to avoid the pandemic in big cities, which has caused deep disturbance to localities, enterprises and the workers themselves.
In order for the labour market to soon recover and grow in a sustainable manner, after the pandemic, it is necessary to introduce not only comprehensive economic measures, but also social support policies, as well as enhancing the mechanisms and policies concerning migrant workers, in which the basic necessities of their daily lives must be met. That is because migrant workers account for a large part of Vietnam’s labour force and have been hit the hardest by the pandemic over the past two years. The labour market recovery policy also needs to increase investments in highly skilled workers in order to take advantage of the opportunities from a golden population period.