Despite the proactive measures Morocco implemented to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, job losses are now in the hundreds of thousands.
Rabat – Approximately 726,000 employees from Morocco’s formal sector have lost their jobs, either temporarily or definitively, due to the COVID-19 crisis. The figure represents 20% of the country’s manpower in the formal sector.
Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) revealed the numbers today, April 22, after a preliminary survey to study the impact of COVID-19 on Moroccan businesses.
Around 27% of Moroccan businesses declared reducing their staff either temporarily or definitively.
More than half the employees with suspended activity (57%) were working for micro-, small-, and mid-sized businesses.
Employees in the tertiary sector are the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with approximately 245,000 suspending their activities. The number represents 17.5% of employees in the field of services.
The industrial sector also recorded a decline in activity, with 195,000 employees facing suspension, or 22% of the sector’s manpower, followed by the construction sector that lost 170,000 jobs, around 24% of total construction jobs.
Other sectors that recorded a significant decline in manpower include the clothing (34% decrease), accommodation (31%), and food service (26%) industries.
Suspended activity or reduced production
Approximately 142,000 companies, or 57% of companies registered in Morocco’s trade register, declared suspending their activity. The majority of those businesses (135,000) announced a temporary suspension of their activity, while 6,300 companies stopped their activity altogether.
Micro-sized businesses are the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, representing 72% of the companies that declared suspending their activity, followed by small- and mid-sized businesses (26%) and large businesses (2%).
The most affected sector by the COVID-19 crisis is hospitality, with 89% of the sector’s businesses suspending their activity. Companies operating in the textile and leather industry come second (76% of businesses suspended activity), followed by the metal and mechanical industry (73%) and the construction sector (60%).
For companies that continue their activity despite the sanitary crisis (43% of Moroccan businesses), around half were forced to reduce their production to adapt to the pandemic situation. The majority of companies that reduced their production (81%) had to do so by over 50%.
Construction, hospitality, chemical, transportation and storage, and textile and leather industries were the sectors with the highest rates of businesses that significantly downgraded their production.
Exports in decline
Export businesses are also some of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, with two-thirds of the businesses (67%) reporting being impacted by the pandemic. Approximately 11% of export ventures suspended their activities definitively, while over half (56%) suspended activities temporarily. Only one-third of export businesses (33%) continue their activity, albeit with reduced production.
The exports sector represents nearly one-fifth (18%) of laid-off employees, with 133,000 workers suspending their activity. Textile and leather exports account for 62% of the sector’s manpower reduction, followed by metal and mechanical exports, agroindustry exports, and chemical exports.
The statistics about the COVID-19 impact on Morocco’s business sector remain preliminary. Their evolution is correlational with the pandemic’s evolution in the country, as well as the Economic Monitoring Committee’s response to mitigate the damage.
To reach the figures, the HCP conducted telephone interviews with 4,000 Moroccan companies from all sectors between April 1-3.