The number of people working for Macau’s gaming and junket operators declined by 5,200 people quarter-on-quarter to around 82,300 in the three months to 30 June 2020, according to information from the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC).
The statistics come as Macau continues to struggle through the impact of COVID-19 and ongoing border restrictions with Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, which saw gross gaming revenue plummet by 97.0% year-on-year to just MOP$716 million in June – the third straight month in which revenue has fallen by more than 90 percentage points.
The Macau SAR Government has previously warned operators and junkets against laying off staff, however industry experts have warned that a number of junkets are already closing down VIP rooms and freezing salaries.
One junket operator, Golden Group, announced earlier this month that it would permanently close all three of its VIP Clubs at Hotel Lisboa at the end of July, while a “top 5” junket was forced to rehire around 200 laid off staff in March after receiving a warning letter from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The junket had already closed rooms at Grand Lisboa, Altira and Wynn Macau as part of its cost-cutting measures.
According to DSEC, the number of unemployed people in Macau increased by 400 to 10,100 in the quarter with most of those currently searching for a new job having previously worked in either gaming and junket activities or in restaurants. The number of underemployed grew by 3,300 to 13,900, with gaming and junket activities again among the most represented industries.
DSEC added that Macau’s unemployment rate grew from 2.1% in the first quarter of 2020 to 2.5% in 2Q20, while the underemployment rate grew from 2.9% to 3.5%.