Oct 5, 2009
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20,000 garment workers lose jobs in Cambodia

Oct 5, 2009

PHNOM PENH — The global economic downturn has forced at least 20,000 workers to lose their jobs in Cambodia's garment industry this year, a labour ministry report showed Monday 5 October.

Photo: AFP

Between January and September, 77 factories were closed across the country resulting in the loss of 30,617 jobs, according to the report obtained by AFP.

Although 40 new factories opened in same the period and created more employment, more than 20,000 job losses remained, it showed.

Another 53 factories also suspended operations during the period but about half have reopened.

"The closure of the factories is due to fewer purchase orders," Oum Mean, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, told AFP.

"We can assume that this has been caused by the global financial crisis because the consumption in big countries has declined and this made some factories receive no purchase orders," he said.

In the face of shrinking demand from the US, the largest importer of Cambodian-made garments, the government is seeking new markets for textiles in Asia and Europe, Oum Mean added.

Cambodia's garment industry is the impoverished country's largest source of income, providing 80 percent of its foreign exchange earnings and employing an estimated 350,000 people last year.

The International Monetary Fund said last month that Cambodia's economy will contract 2.75 percent this year as the global economic crisis takes its toll.

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