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Labor paradox leaves Vietnam factories reeling after COVID exodus

Key global supplier struggles to find workers despite millions being jobless

Inside a Daphaco Electric Cable ​factory in Vietnam's Long An province. The country's workers have slept at factories to prevent ruptures in global supply chains for goods from electronics to shoes.   © Daphaco

HO CHI MINH CITY -- The COVID conundrum seen around the world has reached Vietnam: Millions are out of work, and yet factories cannot hire enough workers to satisfy foreign customers, which are bracing for a holiday season already under threat from brittle global supply chains.

Government officials are beseeching workers, via text message, to return to their posts, and recruiters are dangling "crazy" benefits for new hires, as one executive put it. But the labor shortage remains, even as companies from Samsung to Adidas and Lululemon need production to ramp up in Vietnam, a top source of the world's electronics and clothes. 

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