In view of the new restrictions to combat the corona pandemic, the Swiss Employers’ Association (SAV) expects further job cuts in several industries. The gastronomy, machine, electrical and metal industry (MEM) industry and parts of the wholesale and retail trade are likely to be particularly affected.
“It is precarious in mechanical engineering and tourism,” said SAV chief economist Simon Wey on Thursday in an online media conference to present the employers’ association’s new employment barometer. The MEM was hit by the Corona crisis at a time when it was already struggling with a strong Swiss franc and a sharp drop in demand from the EU, the USA and China.
Company bankruptcies and job losses
Despite the recovery in summer, the employment outlook remained subdued to poor. “The new uncertainties as a result of the more restrictive protective measures as well as renewed lockdowns in important sales markets are likely to cloud the situation further,” says the SAV’s employment barometer, which is to be published every six months in the future.
In the hospitality industry, which had already been hit hard by the first wave, there was another threat of bankruptcies and job losses. “There is a risk that important parts of the infrastructure will be lost,” says the report. The outlook for construction is not rosy either: while the business situation in most sub-sectors of the construction industry is slightly positive again, employment remains in the negative range, the SAV notes.
Vogt expects over 200,000 unemployed
The situation is mixed for wholesaling. While individual areas such as the wholesaling of toys would have benefited, the situation looks bleak in other areas: “If the demand for products in sectors such as gastronomy and accommodation or the MEM industry falls due to tightened corona measures, that too will remain Wholesale trade is not spared. ” And in the retail sector, the new closings of shops for non-daily needs are having an impact, even if the restrictions are not as extensive as in the first wave in spring.
The extent of the wave of job cuts cannot be quantified because of the great uncertainties, said SAV chief economist Wey. SAV President Valentin Vogt expects unemployment to rise to over 200,000 people.
Hope for vaccination
At the end of December, 163,545 people were registered at the regional employment centers, as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs announced last week. That is 40 percent more than the year before. The unemployment rate rose to 3.5 percent at the end of the year. In December 2019 – i.e. in the pre-Corona period – it was still at a very low 2.5 percent.
“Certain companies will have to lay off people because the substance is missing,” said Vogt. In addition, companies will hire far fewer people. The hiring freezes are likely to have a stronger impact than the layoffs. The employer president hopes for the vaccinations. Only these would bring back normality and stability. (SDA / koh)