Roberto Kane

RGV Business Journal

MATAMOROS, Mexico - Manpower estimates that during the last quarter of 2008, there will be a net loss of over 200,000 jobs in Mexico.

At year's end, only about 111,000 to 170,000 new jobs will have been created. The net result for 2008 will be fewer jobs, compared to the same period last year.

MÓnica Flores Barragán, executive director of Manpower's operations in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, explained that from January to October 2008, 376,000 new jobs were created in Mexico, less than half of the 785,000 jobs which had been created during the same period in 2007.

"However, the decrease in the number of jobs being produced during the last quarter of 2008 is mainly due to the apprehensive reaction of business to the international financial crisis. Nevertheless, in spite of the crisis, 111,000 to 170,000 new jobs were still created," she said.

"For 2009, we do not have estimates fully made yet, because of the uncertainties in national and global economies. According to statistics and data compiled by Manpower, so far, the preliminary expectations of companies to hire new personnel for the first quarter of 2009 are the lowest since 2003," Flores Barragán added.

Manpower's survey indicates that only 15 percent of firms surveyed expect to increase their payrolls and hire more workers between January and March of 2009; 17 percent of the firms surveyed anticipate cutting payrolls and laying off personnel; 65 percent of the firms surveyed mentioned no change and 3 percent of the firms reported that they were still undecided about their plans.

These changes in trends for hiring are worldwide in scope, the Manpower executive said, since 21 of 33 countries, including Mexico, have indicated the lowest expectations in hiring and new jobs creation since Manpower began making labor surveys in these countries.

"Unless employers see more positive and encouraging economic signs, they will not be hiring more personnel and as long as this situation continues, times are going to get tough for job seekers," Flores Barragán said.

She recommended that firms not panic and take drastic measures to reduce staff because, afterwards, it will be very dificult and expensive for them to re-hire highly skilled employees. Instead, she suggested that companies take alternative actions like reducing working hours, schedules and shortening the length of shifts to protect employment and jobs.