desemp1QCOSTARICA – The recent layoffs by Wendy’s and Avianca, on average equals to 8 people laid off in each day of 2015. This is not taking into account the announced Coca Cola world-wide restructuring that could affect up to 180 jobs in Costa Rica.

Each of the companies has expressed different reasons. In the case of Wendy’s, the owner of the franchise operation in Costa Rica cited fierce competition led to the closure of its 10 restaurants and food court outlets in the country.

On Tuesday, the Colombian airline Avianca announced the layoff of 60 people, 29 pilots and 31 crew. The airline says it is due to changes in flight operations in Costa Rica.

In 2014, companies like Bank of America, MABE, La Nacion, Yanber, Cartex, Hotel La Condesa, Cathay, Ichiban, Hotel Europa and Casino, Bank of America and Intel, among others, were responsible for the layoff of thousands.

For many the high cost of operations in Costa Rica was reason the layoffs and in some cases for ending their operations in the country. Others, like the La Condesa and Europa hotels, the closures was mainly due to their inability to pay social services (the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social).

Victor Morales, the Minister of Labour (Ministro de Trabajo) downplays the spate of layoffs, saying the country is working on attracting more foreign investment to generate more employment.

The minister speaking on Radio Plancha Tuesday morning, said “as we have seen layoffs by important companies, which they are not leaving the country, rather making changes in operations, also today we received information from officials of Foreign Trade (Comercio Exterior) with the expectation of creating 6.000 jobs this year, all due to foreign investment.”

The minister did not elaborate on the details.

Enrique Egloff, president of the Chamber of Industries (Camara de Industrias), says some 7.700 bojs have been lost in the last 18 months, in what he calls a “new blow to the industry.”

A survey in December by Manpower in Costa Rica revealed that 5% of employers anticipate a decrease in their payroll for the first quarter of 2015.

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