MEXICO CITY, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Mexico could return to "economic normality" by the end of June, with employment at the levels registered before the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday.
Before the pandemic broke out here in February 2020, the number of workers registered with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) was over 20.5 million, a figure that could be recovered by mid-year, the president said during his usual daily press conference.
According to Lopez Obrador, Mexico lost 1.1 million jobs due to COVID-19, after lockdown measures brought several economic sectors to a standstill, but in recent months some 600,000 jobs have been recovered.
"We believe that by the middle of the year we will have 20.5 million formal jobs again," the president told reporters at the National Palace in Mexico City.
"I maintain that by June, by the end, we will already be in economic normality. We are going to have greater growth and recovery in industrial activity, especially in tourism, which was very hard hit," he said.
Economic recovery is expected to go hand in hand with a decline in COVID-19 and progress in vaccinating the population.
Lopez Obrador said he hopes to have everyone over 60 years of age, about 15 million people, vaccinated against COVID-19 by April, as part of a gradual inoculation strategy that began at the end of December 2020.
Mexico has the world's third-highest COVID-19 death toll, after the United States and Brazil, with 188,866 deaths from the disease.
Some 2,112,508 people in Mexico have tested positive for the virus.
Mexico's economy, the second largest in Latin America after Brazil, contracted 8.2 percent in 2020, its worst performance since the 1930s, as a result of the pandemic.
The economy is expected to grow 4.8 percent in 2021, according to the Central Bank of Mexico.