Official unemployment rate slips in 1Q suggesting tighter labour market


The official unemployment rate had fallen in the first quarter while the participation rate improved slightly in a sign of slight recovery in the labour market conditions in 2023 after bottoming in 2022 when the economy hit a nadir, which resulted in many losing jobs and about a half million people leaving the country.
The official jobless rate came in at 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023, slightly better than 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, last year. 

Despite millions in their working age remaining outside the workforce, Sri Lanka’s labour market remains extremely tight hovering around 4.0 percent levels. 
There are jobs out there in the market but no takers, businesses complain. 

While the country lost many skilled workers last year, semi and unskilled people are also on their way out of the country even at present, to escape tight living conditions brought about by the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, the labour force participation rate, which measures those who are working as well as looking for work as a percentage of total working age population, inched up to 49.9 percent from 48.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. 
Sri Lanka’s participation rate stands the lowest in comparison to over 60 percent levels in OECD block of countries. 

Female labour force participation is extremely low in Sri Lanka while millions of prime age working people remain outside the labuor force as they are not willing to engage. 
While Sri Lanka may recover from the crisis at present with the fiscal and monetary adjustments and other patchwork done by the policy makers, no durable development is possible if measures are not taken to build skilled people who are willing to contribute to the economy in some way.

source daily mirror


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