Unemployment highest among those with middle and higher education

For every five working age population, there are three persons contributing to the production of goods in Bhutan, according to the Labour Force Survey Report 2016 the labour ministry released.

The report estimated about 190,819 men and 156,311 women as employed.

The report defined employment-to-population ratio as the proportion of employed persons to the country’s working age. The report stated that female employment to population ratio is lower than male across all the residents in both rural and urban areas.

The highest ratio is seen in the prime age group (25-54) category with 93.5 percent and 69.2 percent in both female and male.

During the reference period, the survey considered persons who worked as paid employees, own account workers and family workers as employed persons. This also includes persons with a job but not at work during the reference period (the previous one week).

The report stated that although employed persons in agriculture is declining over the years, the report found that a majority of the employed are in agriculture at 57.2 percent followed by 34.2 percent in service and 8.7 percent in industry sector.

“Gasa experienced the lowest share of employed persons in all sectors while Samtse shared the maximum employed persons working in Agriculture,” report sated. “Chukha ranked the highest share in industry followed by Thimphu.”

Industry sector includes mining, manufacturing and construction. Thimphu has the highest employment sector with 29.6 percent and contributed the maximum share of employed persons at 12.8 percent.

The report stated that women have less qualification compared to men and that, as qualification gets higher, number of women employed gets less.  “It further deteriorated with Master’s degree and above where women constitute only 280 as compared to 1,626 men.”

The average monthly income earning of an employed person is Nu 15,000 in urban areas and Nu 10,000 in rural areas, the report stated.

Out of 570,231 working age population, the survey result revealed that, 354,652 persons are economically active population and today, 54.9 percent of men are in the labour force compared to 45.1 percent women.

A total of 215,579 persons are economically inactive. A majority among female (29.5%) are economically inactive because of their involvement in household and family duties. For men, this is only 2.8 percent.

The highest reported reason for inactivity among male (20.0%) is engaged in studies.

Labour force is the population aged 15 years and older that is currently economically active.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate stands at 2.1 percent, which is lower than 2015’s (2.5%) at the national level according to the report. The report defined unemployed as those who are without work, seeking work and available for work during the survey reference period. The survey followed ILO norms to calculate the unemployment rate.

The survey estimated the number of unemployed persons at 7,521 in 2016 of which men constitute 51.2 percent and 48.8 percent women. Unemployment rate was highest in urban areas both for men and women with 2.8 percent and 5.9 percent respectively.

Women unemployment rate is 2.3 percent and men unemployment rate is 2 percent.

“This higher unemployment rate in women is caused due to less women labour force in the market,” the report stated. “It displays that unemployment rate is the highest among those with middle and higher education with 3.5 percent.”

In the annual unemployment rates, the report found that male unemployment rate over the years has been lower than female unemployment rate. In 2016, the gap between the male and female unemployment rate has declined.

Samtse has the second highest number of unemployed people at 17.9 percent followed by Paro with 14.1 percent while Dagana and Gasa have no unemployed persons.

However, the survey estimated youth unemployment rate at 13.2 percent for 2016. Youth unemployment is the percentage of unemployed population in the age group 15-24 years to the labour force.

The report stated that the youth unemployment rate is the highest for both male and female with bachelors degree followed by middle and higher education.

Yangchen C Rinzin

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