Unemployment rate in September is lower than in August
In September, the number of unemployed decreased by nearly 10,000 compared to August. In the seventh month since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, a number of problems remain - hundreds of jobs in the Bulgarian seaside and winter resorts have been cut, the fight against unemployment continues in the major industrial regions of the country.
Hundreds of jobs in the hotel and restaurant industry in the coastal city of Varna have been cut. Pavlin Kosev dismissed, then appointed again, then again dismissed, and again appointed staff. He initially lost 70% of his staff.
"Even if there was no season, we were expecting a wave of tourists, mostly Bulgarians, somewhere around the middle of July or the second half of July. We had to sharply increase the staff," said Pavlin Kosev, a hotel manager in Varna.
"In fact, tourism has done much better than we expected in March or April," said Adrian Nikolov, an economist.
The trade unions insist on continuing and upgrading some measures in the fight against unemployment.
"To increase the minimum unemployment benefit to BGN 17 and to keep this period to the minimum of 7 months," said Plamen Dimitrov, president of CITUB trade union.
Unemployment rate is more than 20% in Bansko, Razlog, Yakoruda and Belitsa. Compared to last year, the increase is double. 1,000 people in the tourism sector have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Only half are back at work now.
"We are currently in demand for the hotel and restaurant industry for maids, cooks, waiters," said Mariana Trencheva, director of the Labour Office - Razlog.
Hoteliers now work week for week and say they don't know if they will have guests on Friday.
"Already 80% of the staff that we had in March are back at work ," said Ian Gardiner.
"The winter season depends entirely on how quickly we can find a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus. Our winter tourism relied more on foreign tourists than the summer season. Accordingly, if we find ourselves again with travel restrictions, there is every risk to expect a much more serious crisis in the labour market," said Adrian Nikolov, an economist at the IME.
It will take 2-3 years for tourism to recover after the crisis, experts estimate.