Unemployment rising in Pakistan

The number of unemployed people increased from 3.7 million to 8.5 million in last three years of PTI rule

PTI came into power with promise of providing 2 million jobs every year in its tenure of five years. It promised to create 10 million jobs for people of Pakistan. PTI government has failed to fulfill its promise of jobs in first three years.  More people are unemployed now than three years ago. Instead of providing 06 million jobs in last three years as promised by the PTI government, it has made nearly 5 million (50 lakhs) people unemployed in last three years. 

So, it is disappointing to know that the country’s unemployment rate jumped from 5.8 percent in 2018 to 6.9 percent in 2019. That was the first year of the PTI government in power. This has been revealed by the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The survey reveals that in absolute terms the number of jobless people jumped by nearly a million people to over 4.7 million in 2019 from 3.7 million 2018.

The increase in unemployment has been observed in both men and women with male unemployment rising from 5.1 percent to 5.9 percent whereas female unemployment rate surging from 8.3 % to10 %. That shows a disproportionate increase in unemployment among women.

The number of unemployed people jumped to 5.80 million during the financial year 2019-20. The number of unemployed people in the country had reached to 6.65 million during the fiscal year 2020-21.

After three years of PTI rule, the unemployment is at historic high as 8.5 million People are unemployed in Pakistan at the moment. This level is the highest in the history of the country.

The PTI leaders made tall claims of ‘Naya Pakistan’ and ‘Tabdeeli’. None of the major election promises and manifesto pledges so far been fulfilled by PTI government.

For women in rural areas the situation is even worse as female joblessness increased by nearly three percent in rural areas. All this calls for immediate steps to create more jobs and that the government can do by realising the gravity of the situation in the labour market. The government must take the survey seriously and develop a comprehensive job-creation strategy, rather than rely on spin doctors known for false claims and tall promises.

Pakistan is experiencing the phenomenon of unemployed educated people, particularly jobless graduates. The unemployment rate among degree-holders is almost three times higher than the other overall unemployed people. The reason given for this is a mismatch between the education being imparted and the need of the economy to sufficiently absorb fresh graduates.

The youth unemployment rate is quite high as compared to the average unemployment rate. The highest overall unemployment rate (11.56%) is prevalent among the age group of 20-24 years. The youth unemployment is much higher now than it was three years ago.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with a population of 219 million. Given the current rate of population growth, it is estimated to reach 280 million by 2030. At present, 69% of the population is below the age of 30. Helping young people develop the right skills for employment makes economic sense. A staggering number of young people are not in education, employment or training at present.

The expansion in the workforce is directly related to increasing population in the country. If the trend continues, we may be adding around five million pairs of hands to the workforce annually. That means the government must plan to provide that many jobs if it intends to contain the rising tide of unemployment.

Job markets in Pakistan remain volatile in the absence of a sound industrial base that is competitive at the international level. The government needs to create new jobs by facilitating businesses and industries.

Instead, it has been encouraging real-estate business that is mostly based on speculations. The business and industrial sectors in the country have been laying off their employees in droves. Providing gainful employment is one of the primary responsibilities of any modern state. When the unemployment rate increases by just one percent, it means an increase of millions of jobless people in the country.

                                                           Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor


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