BANGKOK(NNT) - Despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the Department of Industrial Works suggests an unexpected increase in employee demands in the first half of this year, due to business expansions and new factory openings.

The Department of Industrial Works’ (DIW) Director General Prakob Vivitjinda, has disclosed a 10.22 percent year-on-year increase in industrial factory openings and expansion requests in the first six months of 2020, numbering 1,702 businesses, worth 170 billion baht of investment.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to directly affect investments in that period, as most investments had been planned well in advance.

The investment figure of 170 billion baht is actually lower than in the previous year, however the increased activity created some 120,000 new jobs, marking a 79.23 percent increase, and the highest new worker demand in three years.

The DIW is expecting a surge in workers’ demands in this sector will help alleviate the issue of unemployment due to COVID-19, and support some new graduates this year.

Most factory opening or expansion requests in this period came from the food industry, followed by plastic products and plant product manufacturing.

The DIW has detected no irregular pattern of factory closures, with only 402 factories closed in the first half of this year, which is fewer than the 665 factories closed during the same period last year.

The department is however closely monitoring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the latter half of this year, while keeping an optimistic outlook that the excellent disease control protocols and responses, might help raise the confidence of investors.

The DIW has put a proposal to the Ministry of Industry for five social and economic development projects worth 148 million baht, including a machine to capital project; a safety, energy, and environmental standards enhancement project for factories; and a productivity enhancement project for SMEs.

National News Bureau Of Thailand