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Mexico’s biggest job losses occurred in the heavily tourism-dependent Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo, which has lost almost 64,000 jobs. The state is home to resorts regions like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, which have been hit hard by recommendations that people limit travel.
Workers pull dollies loaded with boxes of produce past a decontamination tent at the Centro de Abastos, the main food distribution center in Mexico City, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
The Labor Department said the largest share of the job since mid-March — almost 250,000 — came at firms with 50 workers or more, rather than the smaller businesses that dominate Mexico’s economy.
“We are calling on these companies to reconsider and recognize that the key thing at this moment is to show solidarity with workers,” said Labor Secretary Luisa Maria Alcalde.
Officials said there was no legal basis for firing or laying off workers because of a public health emergency and praised smaller firms for trying to hold on to their employees.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said small businesses “are holding up under the crisis, these small businessmen and women are acting responsibly and heroically, because they are caring for their employee’s jobs.”
López Obrador had pledged to create 2 million new jobs are part of an emergency response plan, but the latest figures could make that goal harder to reach.
As of Wednesday, Mexico has 2,785 coronavirus cases and 141 deaths.
The International Labour Organization said in a report Wednesday that the pandemic has caused a drop of 5.7 percent in the number of hours worked in Latin America and the Caribbean – roughly equivalent to 14 million jobs across the region.
“We are facing a mass destruction of jobs, and that creates a challenge of unprecedented proportion in labor markets in Latin and the Caribbean,” said ILO Regional Director Vinícius Pinheiro.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.