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Mexico's tourism industry sees 140,000 job cuts amid flu crisis

Mexico's tourism and services industry saw 140,000 job cuts during the flu-hit period of April and May, a business organization said Monday.


Some 20,000 workers lost their jobs on the worst day of the epidemic, said Mario Sanchez Ruiz, president of the National Trade, Services and Tourism Chambers Federation.


Sanchez expects the tourism industry to recover in at least six months as "Mexico depends on a recovery of the international economy, especially that of the United States."


Mexico reported an official unemployment rate of 5.1 percent at the end of March, 1.2 percentage points higher than the same period of 2008. But economists deemed the figure had generally understated the real rate as it still include citizens that had worked for just a few hours during the 15-day survey period.


Mexico sends more than 80 percent of its exports to the U.S. and the largest single chunk of its tourism trade is from U.S.-owned cruise ships.


The U.S. economy has entered recession since December 2007 with steepest decline seen in October 2008. It will take the United States a long time to get out of the downturn though the latest indicators send positive signals.


(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2009)