… the overall unemployment rate also decreased to 4.8 percent

Phurpa Lhamo

With 16,254 unemployed people in the country in 2021, the unemployment rate is 4.8  percent, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) report released yesterday.

The overall unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percent from 2020.

A press release from the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) stated that the decrease in the unemployment rate in 2021 could be attributed to the strategic interventions and programmes initiated by His Majesty’s Secretariat to stabilise the economy and to protect the poor and vulnerable groups from the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic.

The LFS report stated that about 40.3 percent of the unemployed people have been unemployed for 12 months or more. “Among the unemployed, 14.9 percent had been unemployed for a month.”

It also stated that the percentage of persons who have been looking for work for 12 months and more is slightly higher among females (40.8 percent) than males (39.6 percent).

In 2021, the long-term unemployment rate, persons who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, was 1.9 percent, which is an increase from 1.3 percent in 2020.

The long-term unemployment rate of 1.9 percent means that there were 6,552 unemployed persons who were without work, actively seeking for work for more than one year and available for work during the reference period.

Of the total youth unemployed, 47.2 percent has completed higher secondary education followed by bachelor’s degree (27.8 percent) and then middle secondary (13.4 percent)

The LFS report stated that among several reasons cited for unemployment, 18.3 percent said that they had recently completed their studies, 17.8 percent said that they lacked adequate qualifications and 12.3 percent said that they lacked experience.

More than 10 percent of unemployed individuals had said that they had voluntarily resigned from their earlier job.

The press release stated that in general, the year 2021 saw an increase in unemployment in the major economic activity like ‘construction,’ ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ and ‘human health and social worker activities’ compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate also dropped to 20.9 percent in 2021 from 22.6 percent in 2020.

The 20.9 percent youth unemployment rate mounts to 6,492 youth aged between 15 and 24 being unemployed.

Among the unemployed youth, female unemployment rate is higher with 24.6 percent to 16.9 per cent male.

The LFS report stated that there was a difference in the youth unemployment rate among males and females both in urban and rural areas. “The youth unemployment is an urban phenomenon with 28.6 percent, which is almost double than that of rural areas (15.8 percent).”

It also stated that unemployment rate was highest in Thimphu at 10.1 percent, followed by Paro, Haa, Punakha and Chukha.