National unemployment rate decreases marginally

As per the 13th National Labour Force Survey carried out in December 2015, the national unemployment rate has decreased from 2.6 percent in 2014 to 2.5 percent in 2015.

The female and male unemployment rates have decreased, from 3.5 percent in 2014 to 3.1 percent in 2015, and from 1.9 percent in 2014 to 1.8 percent in 2015, respectively.

The decline in the overall unemployment is attributed to the increase in the employment growth rate, which is estimated at 1.4 percent, and geared towards the government’s target of achieving full employment in the country.

The growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 2.14 percent to 5.46 percent in 2015 has generated more jobs in the country.

However, the youth unemployment rate for the age range in between (15-24) has increased by 1.3 percent; from 9.4 percent in 2014 to 10.7 percent in 2015.

Although the national unemployment rate has decreased, however, the unemployment rate, while segregating by gender, found a decrease in male youth unemployment rate from 8.6 percent in 2014 to 8.2 percent in 2015, whereas the female youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.0 percent in 2014 to 12.7 percent in 2015.

According to the survey report, the increase in female youth unemployment rate is due to the fact that the female population is much higher than the male population. It also found that most female job seekers possess lesser educational qualification, with most having the basic school level, class X and XII, qualification.

Moreover, the report states that females are less mobile, geographically, than males when seeking and finding employment is concerned. At the same time, due to family and child rearing responsibilities, female jobseekers tend to look for desk jobs that are rarely available in the market.

Minister of Labour and Human Resources, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, said, “Jobs are limitless, but number of job seekers increase yearly, our economy is not stable and as a interim measures, we have started the overseas program.”

Lyonpo also added that there are numerous employment programs and initiatives being taken to bring down the female unemployment rate.

Ministry of Labour and Human Resources is targeting to send women into the tourism sector, university internship program for nurses, Guaranteed Employment Program, and towards jobs as horticulturists, soap makers, beauticians, etc.  In addition, 70 percent of the overseas employment program beneficiaries are women.

The report also shows a decrease in the rural youth unemployment rate from 5.1 percent in 2014 to 4.8 percent in 2015, whereas the urban youth unemployment rate has increased from 24.0 percent in 2014 to 28.0 percent in 2015, which clearly indicates that the youth unemployment is an urban issue.

The report points out that the unemployed youth are either school leavers, middle secondary and higher secondary levels, or mainly general university graduates.

Therefore, a mismatch between educational qualification and the availability of the jobs in the market is an issue, which ultimately reduces the prospects for the educated youth to find jobs relevant to their field of study and qualification.

“Thereby, higher unemployment amongst youth with higher education qualification has resulted in the fact that youth with higher education qualification to look for white collar job, if not, to look for specifics job related to their field of study,” officials at the ministry said.

The total labour force, both employed and unemployed, as of December 2015 is estimated at 352,953 and the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has increased, from 62.6 percent in 2014 to 63.1 percent in 2015, out of which 71.2 percent LFPR are male and 55.9 percent are female.

The survey was conducted using the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI), covering all 20 dzongkhags, with the national representative sample of 6,000 households, 4,500 households in urban areas and 1,500 households in rural areas.

The methodology for the survey is adopted in consultation with the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) and is carried out based on International Labour Organisation (ILO) and followed the United Nations Systems of National Accounts guidelines.

The survey was aimed at providing quantitative information for the preparation of plans and programs pertaining to the employment and labour market.

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