Around 8.4 million Thais are at risk of unemployment this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thosaporn Sirisumphand, chief of the National Economic and Social Development Council, said on Thursday.
The figure includes around 2.5 million jobs in the tourism sector, 1.5 million in the industrial sector and 4.4 million in other service industry fields, the official explained.
He said unemployment in the country rose by around 1 per cent in the first quarter of the year due to the impact of the pandemic, adding that figures for the second quarter of the year are expected to be much worse.
According to Thosaporn, there are also around 520,000 new university graduates in the country who will have a hard time securing their first jobs this year.
However, if the government is able to control the virus outbreak and revive the economy, perhaps less than two million people would lose their jobs - which would equal unemployment levels during the 1997 financial crisis, Thosaporn said.
The official also reported that the first quarter of this year saw a 5.5 per cent increase in alcohol sales which could be an indication of stress among the public.
Thailand's coronavirus task force reported 11 new cases on Thursday, tallying a total of 3,065 cases, with 57 deaths.
The government has begun easing some measures implemented to curb the spread of the virus this month, such as allowing some businesses and public meeting places to reopen.
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