Jobs figures unscathed by bad economy

August 27, 201510:23 am388 views
Jobs figures unscathed by bad economy
Jobs figures unscathed by bad economy

The country’s economic slowdown has yet to affect employment conditions or the unemployment rate thanks to higher employment in the non-farm sector.

According to a report by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the second-quarter unemployment rate was 0.88% of the total workforce, down from 1% in the same period last year.

The workforce in the second quarter totalled 38.4 million, unchanged from the year-earlier period, the economic planning unit said.

Of the total, 37.8 million were employed in the quarter, down by 0.2% year-on-year, mainly from agricultural employment, which dropped by 5.8%.

The widespread drought led farmers to postpone cultivation from May to the end of last month.

Consequently, 315,848 farmers and agricultural workers became seasonally inactive, causing the seasonally inactive labour force to rise by 30.7%, which is not accounted for in unemployment.

Employment in non-farm sectors rose by 2.6% compared with a 0.3% decrease a year earlier. This was due mainly to higher employment in tourism, construction, transport and manufacturing.

NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith attributed the low jobless rate to workforce movement from inactive to active sectors.

The workforce shifted from the sluggish automotive industry to the thriving electronics sector, he said.

“Demand for workers remains strong, particularly for semi-skilled and highly skilled workers,” Mr Arkhom said, adding that most industries sought to reduce working hours rather than lay off workers.

The NESDB report said average working hours in the second quarter amounted to 43.6 per person per week, down by 1.5% from a year earlier.

But wages and salaries in the private sector excluding overtime pay and other benefits rose by 2.5%, and labour productivity by 3.4%.

Mr Arkhom said the NESDB must monitor worker incomes in both the farm and non-farm sectors to gauge the effects of lower production and falling agriculture prices.

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