English | Dzongkha Friday, November 22, 2019

The limitations of Economic Census report

Sonam Pem, Thimphu
Jul 10, 2019

Going by the number of establishments engaged in economic activities, 74,000 people are employed by the economic sectors as per the findings of the first Economic Census Report. Of which, 47,000 are males and 26,000 females.

The highest share of employment is observed in the wholesale and retail trade sector followed by the construction sector and accommodation and food services sector. The report was launched recently.

The share of employment of women is higher than men in sectors like accommodation and food services and arts and entertainment while men dominated the construction and mining sector. The report states that this is attributed to the population of non-Bhutanese workers employed in these sectors. There are 14,000 non-Bhutanese employees.

“In our case, if we look at it carefully, we have clearly reflected in the report saying that household-based business units that are operated through the household are not captured in our report, for instance like taxi service and handicraft which is mostly operated from the household. The truckers who operate their transportation are also not there in the report. And another thing is one of the huge chunks of the economy is the agriculture which constitutes almost like 16 per cent of our economy. Again this is out of our scope,” said Sonam Laendup, a Senior Statistical Officer at National Statistics Bureau.

Similarly, the census did not cover government offices, religious institutions and Armed forces. As the Economic Census did not take into account all the households like the Labour Force Survey, the employment number is different in both the reports.

“The employment number which is reflected in the labour force survey and then the employment number reflected in the economic census are two different things. One that we have reflected is by establishments which means the employment provided by the establishments. So it means that it doesn’t encompass all the economic units that are there in the economy. So based on that limitation, we need to read the employment number carefully,” he added.

The report mentioned that the census was limited to state-owned enterprises, single proprietorship, partnerships, private limited companies, public limited companies, NGOs, regular vendors operating in a permanent shed, functional cooperatives, farmers’ groups and project authorities. The census was initiated by National Statistics Bureau with support from the World Bank.

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