Yangchen C Rinzin

Going by the labour force survey report 2020, Lhuentse and Mongar have the highest employed persons in the country.

Lhuentse’s employment stands at 99.4 percent.

The report stated that with 70.1 percent of people employed in rural areas. There are more persons employed in rural areas than in urban areas, which has only 29.9 percent employed.

The lowest proportion of employed persons is in Thimphu and Paro with 87.7 percent and 90.6 percent.

Officials from the National Statistic Bureau said Lhuentse’s employment rate was highest because agriculture work is also considered as a part of job even if the person has worked on a farm during the reference period. 

Reference period means the last week prior to the date of enumeration during the survey. 

“So, irrespective of the person working in the field for self-consumption or commercial, it is considered employed,” an official said. “This is why Lhuentse and Mongar have high employment because the majority are into agriculture.”

The other reason for the highest employment rate in the two dzongkhags could be because of the labour force denominator that determines the survey. “This means if the labour force is low then the employed proportion will come higher.” 

A total of 9,012 households were selected from the 20 dzongkhags for the survey, out of which about 3,420 households were in urban areas and 5,592 households in rural areas.

However, the official said that sampling has no link to why the employment rate is higher in a rural area. “The sampling is based on the standard sampling frame from the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan. The sampling is about 37 percent  urban and 63 percent rural.”

According to the International Labour Organisation’s standards and United Nations 1993 System of National Accounts, work includes any kind of work or business “such as collecting water or firewood, cow herding, tailoring, or making mats, etc. for the households.”

Employed means persons who have worked as paid employees, own account workers and contributing family workers. This also includes persons with a job but not at work during the reference period of the survey.

As per the report, the share of employment in the service sector stands at 36.6 percent.

The report also revealed that in rural areas, majority of the people, 69.3 percent, are employed in the agriculture sector while in the urban areas, about 73.2 percent are employed in the service sector.

The official said that although the employment rate is high in rural areas, it was different when it comes to employment status going by the “regular paid employee,” which is high in urban areas.

In terms of employment status, about 28.6 percent accounted for the largest proportion of the employed people, followed by people working in agriculture as ‘family worker’ at 27 percent and persons working in agriculture as ‘own account workers.’

Contributing family worker is defined as a household member who is engaged in a family business or farming activity without any payment. About  49.4 percent of the rural women are contributing family workers in agriculture as compared to 25.9 percent men.

The report stated of the total employed persons, 42.4 percent do not have any form of education.