Zug, 20.05.2020

More than 5,000 companies have registered short-time working

The Cantonal Directorate of Economics has provided information on the number of short-working-time requests since the lockdown in mid-March.

The economy is suffering from the corona crisis. Never before have so many companies had to apply for short-time work. Following the first easing measures within Switzerland, however, confidence is now returning. But how many short-time workers are there in the canton of Zug at the moment? The Economics Directorate of the Canton of Zug cannot give a definitive answer at this stage: the current data relates to the pre-registration of short-time work, which is processed in the Office for Economic Affairs and Labour. "The notification only contains self-assessing information from the company about the possible drop in its turnover, as measured by the underemployment for the coming months, which does not need to be specified. So it's an estimate," explains Silvia Thalmann-Gut, Director of Economics.

In numbers, this estimate is as follows: In January and February, i.e. before the introduction of measures to curb the corona virus, only nine Zug companies, with a total of 55 employees, applied for short-time work, according to the statistics of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). In March, when the virus had already spread across the country, 3,945 companies with a total of 39,050 employees signed up for short-time work There were an additional 1,077 companies with 5,146 employees in April,  representing a total of 5,031 companies and 44,251 employees in the last four months.

Three-month delay
The missing working hours that will be effectively paid out are calculated by the Arbeitslosenkasse (unemployment fund). "However, as the companies have three months to submit the short-time work after the end of a month, the statistics are published by Seco with a three-month delay," commented Silvia Thalmann. The definitive January figures were thereby published on 7 May, but not the provisional data from February to April.

Zug has an above-average number of businesses and employees, as companies can choose the location of their head office, explains the Director of Economics. "These are, for example, many Swiss companies that have a branch office in almost all cantons of Switzerland, but run all their branches from Zug," she adds. This is therefore also reflected in the Zug figures. An excellent economic situation in Zug has been abruptly slowed down by the Corona crisis.

The Zug Economics Directorate also notes that companies are responsible for the re-opening steps. The goal is to return to the usual sales as quickly as possible. "Due to the limitations, this is not always possible with the former offers, which is why new offers are being developed," says Thalmann.

In addition, it was noted that some sectors were affected very differently by the restrictive measures. "For example, retail trade was severely restricted from 16 March. We now expect the number of applications for short-time work compensation to increase compared to March, and then decrease again," she added. The Directorate expects this decline as a result of the re-opening steps of 27 April and 11 May.

Many factors could now influence the revival of the economy, with the gradual return to the new normal. It is therefore appropriate to plan for the coming months using different scenarios. "In the third quarter, we’ll have clearer indications of how the crisis is affecting the economy." As the canton of Zug is home to many international companies, the development of the world market will also play a major role.

Unemployment rate has already risen
"We are already noting an increase in the unemployment rate," Thalmann reveals. Here, too, people are reacting to the change according to their own situation, whereby the Directorate of Economics will only add to its team in the Regional Employment Centre (RAV) as far as is necessary. "We expect a sharp increase in the number of unemployed up to 2021, with a stabilization during the year and a decline in the second half of the 2020," predicts Silvia Thalmann.