MEXICO – The Mexican economy lost more than half a million formal jobs in April amid the COVID-19 crisis, the biggest drop since there is a record, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) reported Tuesday.

“As a consequence of the effects derived from the health emergency, in April there was a monthly decrease of 555,247 jobs, equivalent to a monthly rate of -2.7%,” said an IMSS statement, which presents one of the main indicators for measure formal work.

This drop would add to the 198,033 places lost between March 13 and 31, as announced by the IMSS on April 8, which would give a total of 753,280 jobs lost due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.

It also adds to an April loss of 6,689 employers, as employers who register workers with the IMSS are called.

However, when considering the jobs created in the first months of the year, the IMSS specified that the reduction in the first four months of 2020 is 493,746 jobs, of which 67.2% correspond to permanent jobs.

“In the last twelve months there was a decrease of 451,231 positions, equivalent to an annual rate of -2.2%,” the institute elaborated.

Banco de México indicated that remittances during March reached $ 4 billion, registering as the highest monthly increase in the last 20 years.

The April figures reflect the first month of the health emergency that the Mexican government decreed on March 30, when it suspended non-essential activities to combat COVID-19, which accumulates 36,327 infections and 3,573 deaths in the country.

The data is in line with the projections of the Banco de México board and business organizations such as the Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin), which estimates that the country loses 20,000 daily jobs with the contingency.

The increase in unemployment shows the “negative effects of the economic recession and in particular the decline of the Mexican industrial sector,” argued the Institute for Industrial Development and Economic Growth (IDIC).

In March, industrial activity decreased by 4.9% at the annual rate, in seasonally adjusted figures, which accumulates 18 consecutive negative rates, a figure higher than that of the 1995 crisis and which equaled what happened in 2009, IDIC warned, estimates a loss of 960,000 formal jobs in 2020.

Other specialists have warned that the IMSS figures offer a partial portrait of the crisis in a country with 31.3 million people in informality, 56.2% of the total of 55.6 million workers, according to the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (Inegi) .

The Research Institute for Development with Equity (Equide) at the Universidad Iberoamericana calculated last week that between 5.2 and 8.1 million Mexicans lost their jobs, were unable to leave due to income, or “were rested” by their companies in the face of the pandemic.

The elaboration of mouth covers is one of the options that entrepreneurs use to generate income.

The IMSS registers 19.9 million jobs, of which 86.4% are permanent and 13.6% are temporary, percentages that “have remained relatively constant” in recent years, the statement said.

On the other hand, it reported an average monthly salary of 403.6 pesos per day ($ 16.69 dollars), which is equivalent to an annual growth rate of 1.5%.