Regional PSBB relaxation to lower mass layoff potential: Bappenas

Regional PSBB relaxation to lower mass layoff potential: Bappenas

Illustration - Workers in a cigarette factory in Kudus, Central Java. ANTARA/Andreas Fitri Atmoko/tom/12/sh

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The potential of mass layoffs over COVID-19 is projected to decline, with some regions relaxing large-scale social distancing (PSBB), thereby facilitating economic recovery, the Coordinating Ministry for National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) stated.

"Based on the latest data, I believe that relaxing large-scale social distancing measures will boost economic activities, and the wave of layoffs is expected to decline within the next few months," the ministry's acting Head of Sub-unit of Macro Planning and Analysis Directorate, M. Firman Hidayat, remarked during an online seminar here on Friday.

However, Hidayat opined that the economic capacity might not yet fully return to normal akin to the pre-pandemic scenario, and the likelihood of layoffs will still exist.

"I think, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to be overcome, the possibility of layoffs will still exist," he stated.

According to Hidayat, unemployment had risen during the pandemic as job openings were also lesser.

Bappenas has projected the number of unemployed in 2020 to increase by four to 5.5 million people from that in 2019, while in 2021, the number of unemployed is expected to rise by 10.7 to 12.7 million.

The trade, manufacturing industry, construction, company service, accommodation, food and beverage industry are among the sectors that will reduce the number of employees.

The agency has designed the strategy for a policy to reduce unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic through the recovery of the manufacturing industry, tourism, investment, and entrepreneurship, as well as through the development of simple infrastructure in villages under the labor intensive program.

Furthermore, Bappenas will improve the quality and productivity of workers through the social protection system, health system, education system reform, and vocational training.