As COVID-19 hits global economy, Cambodian workers face layoffs

As COVID-19 brings the global economy to a grinding halt, industry insiders warn that Cambodian workers face factory closures and job suspensions as the demand for goods falls in the West.

ambodian garment workers have had their jobs suspended by the thousands as global markets clench and governments enact drastic measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Now, as the US and European economies grind to a halt, local industry insiders warn that further downturns and job losses are inevitable in Cambodia.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of trade group the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), told the Globe that initially 55 factories in the Kingdom applied to suspend operations in early February, impacting about 15,000 jobs.

That first shock was due to a shortage of raw materials and textiles from China, where the virus appears to have originated. The growing Chinese outbreak in January and February led to an almost complete economic shutdown there, but that has since eased as rigorous state measures to control the virus’ spread have proved successful.

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