Unemployment rate highest in 2018 at 3.4 per cent

Bhutan’s unemployment rate stands at 3.4 per cent as per the Labour Force Survey Report of 2018. This means nearly 10,500 people were without work during the reference period, actively seeking and available for work. The figure is an increase from 3.1 per cent in 2017. The report was released by the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) on Tuesday.

The International Labour Organization defines unemployed as those aged 15 years and above without a job, seeking a job in the last four weeks prior to an interview and available for work if given the opportunity.

The unemployment rate over the five years has remained below four per cent. The highest unemployment rate is reported in 2018 and lowest in 2016 with 2.1 per cent. The report states that the unemployment rate for females is higher than males. And unemployment is more of an urban phenomenon with 71 per cent which is four times higher than that of the rural areas.

On the other hand, the employment rate over the five years has remained above 95 per cent. The highest employment rate was observed in 2016 and lowest in 2018.

The overall youth unemployment rate is estimated at 15.7 per cent which is an increase from 12.3 per cent in 2017. The report claims that the difference in the figure is due to a change in the sampling frame developed after the 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan. Youth unemployment covers those unemployed aged between 15 to 24 years. As per the report, Paro has the highest youth unemployment rate while Tsirang and Pema Gatshel have the lowest.

The report mentions that the youth population over the years shows a declining trend. However, inactive youth population has increased over the years. These two reasons have led to the rising youth unemployment rate.

The report cited not getting a job, lack of adequate qualification and lack of experience as the major reasons for people being unemployed.

NSB conducted the Labour Force Survey for the first time last year based on the decision of the 10th session of the second parliament. In the past, it was the Labour Ministry that used to publish the reports.

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