Thailand’s unemployment rate continued to improve in the third quarter, thanks to a growing economy and a recovering farm sector.According to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), Thailand’s unemployment rate fell below 1 per cent, to stand at 0.96 per cent, an improvement on the rate at the same time last year when it stood at 1.19 per cent.
Still, even that figure is considered very low compared to unemployment rates in some European countries where rates can often average around four per cent and in some cases even into double digits.
The rate in Thailand is also much lower than the rate in the U.S. where unemployment rates hover at around 3.7 per cent. However in the U.S. there is some concern that the labor participation rate can affect the numbers and the actual unemployment rate may be higher than that.
In Asia, rates in Indonesia and the Philippines are over five percent whilst China has an unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent. Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong have unemployment rates of between 2.2 per cent and 2.8 per cent. Only Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia have lower unemployment rates than Thailand, at 0.7, 0.6 and 0.3 per cent respectively.
In Thailand, the workforce of employed people totaled 38.7 million with just 373,000 people out of work, this compares to the previous year when the workforce stood at 38.1 million.
In many economies such a low unemployment rate would usually cause inflation to spike but this has been kept in check in Thailand and so the economy is considered by some as a Goldilocks economy.
According to the secretary-general of the NESDB, Thosaporn Sirisamphand, the lowering of the unemployment rate was due in part to extra recruitment in the transport and warehousing sectors in the third quarter of 2018. Positive activity in these sectors is widely seen as a forward indicator for overall ecomomic growth.
Thosaporn Sirisamphand, was quoted as saying, “Total employment increased both overall and in key sectors,” adding, “In the third quarter of 2018, employment rose by 1.7% year-on-year. Both agricultural sectors and non-agricultural sectors expanded for the first time in 22 quarters.”
Agriculture saw employment growth to the tune of 1.9 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Manufacturing and construction employment rose 2.8 per cent and 2.6 percent respectively compared to the previous quarter.
Employment in hotels and restaurants increased three percent quarter-on-quarter indicating investment in the tourist industry in readiness for the high season.