Why the unemployment rate is up

According to the 11th National Labour Force Survey Report 2013, released on June 30 in Thimphu, the overall national unemployment rate is 2.9% with male unemployment rate at 2.2 % compared to 3.7 percent in female. The overall youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate is 9.6 percent and the female youth unemployment rate is 9.9% compared to 9.2% in male. The total labour force (unemployed and employed) is estimated at 345,786.

The overall labour force participation rate is estimated at 65.3% with male labour force participation rate at 72.1% and female labour force participation rate at 58.9%.

Labour force is defined as the population 15 years and over who contribute to the production of goods and services in the economy of the country. It is a sum total of employed and unemployed figures.

The MoLHR Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said, “The increase in the unemployment rate in 2013 compared to previous year is mainly due to the timing. In 2012, the survey was conducted in the month of March where as in 2013 the survey was conducted in November. During the gap of seven months (March-November) a total of 3,012 job seekers were added into the labour market which attributed to increase in the unemployment rate. The additional jobseekers consist of 2,407 university graduates who attended the National Graduates’ Orientation Programme (NGOP) 2013 and several hundreds of Technical Training Institutes and other training graduates.”

He said the government has directed to increase and support the frequency of labour force survey as it is essential to monitor the labour market dynamics. “The youth are not interested to work in the private sector and waiting for the government jobs, but the government has a limited capacity. The youth usually think that private sector has limited opportunities compared to the government, and that is why the youth are not willing to work in the private sector,” Lyonpo said.

MoLHR Secretary, Pema Wangda, said, “Most job seekers want the best jobs and we have to meet the demand and aspiration of the youth. This is the biggest challenge.”

The Panbang MP, Dorji Wangdi, in a press conference said, “My concern is youth unemployment in urban areas has increased to 22.8% from 13.5%, unemployment case is becoming worse. Regarding the overseas employment program, it targets to send about 30,000 unemployment youth during five years, but till now, they have not been able to send any unemployed youth and there are only three oversea employment agents and Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP), I have a doubt on how successful it will be.”

The Lamgong- Wangchang MP, Khandu Wangchuk, said, “If we want to increase the employment opportunities, we should develop our economy. In case of overseas employment program, countries will provide jobs where their own people cannot work.”

He questioned the government’s performance in the past year. “Where will graduates, class XII and class X passed out under GEP work after two years.” He added that government needs to do far more work, thinking and draw up serious programs to reduce unemployment rate.

The 11th National Labour Force Survey was conducted in all 20 dzongkhags with the national representative sample of 6,000 household (4,500 households in urban and 1,500 households in the rural areas). The report aims to provide a qualitative framework for the preparation of plans and programs and employment policies.

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