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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Worker shortage deters textile-garment firms from taking new orders

By Le Hoang

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HCMC – Although apparel orders have been pouring into Vietnam, certain textile and garment enterprises are hesitating to accept new ones due to a severe shortage of laborers and materials.

With many local apparel firms having secured enough orders for production and export, experts forecast, the country’s apparel exports would hit US$45 billion, well above the target of US$42-43 billion.

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said local apparel firms are seeing a surge in orders. They have secured enough orders for production until the end of the third quarter of 2022. However, they have had difficulty with hiring to scale up their production.

Pham Xuan Hong, chairman of the HCMC Association of Garments, Textiles, Embroidery and Knitting, said the firms active in the apparel sector are finding it hard to hire workers to fulfill their orders.

“Some enterprises are finding it tough to take on new staff, thereby refusing to receive new orders from foreign partners,” Hong added.

In reality, the textile and garment industry had faced a shortage of workers due to fierce competition with other sectors backed by foreign investment before the Covid pandemic, let alone the post-pandemic recovery period. Particularly, HCMC and several southern provinces have seen large numbers of workers walking away from the apparel sector.

The Covid pandemic has also led workers in the textile and garment sector to return to their hometowns. They have either refused to return to HCMC or landed a new job in their home provinces, intensifying the labor shortage in HCMC, according to Hong.

In addition, due to China’s zero-Covid policy, many local apparel firms are voicing concerns over a dearth of materials for garment and textile production, so they did not dare accept new orders.

“Production costs will increase if they buy materials from other markets,” said Hong.

As such, the shortage of workers and materials and rising prices of materials have deterred apparel firms from ramping up capacity and getting more orders.

In the first four months of the year, Vietnam exported nearly US$11 billion worth of textile and garment products, surging 21% year-on-year, said Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

During the four-month period, the country’s exports of these products to the United States, Europe and Japan reported strong gains.

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