Sri Lanka 2Q unemployment marginally up, agriculture jobs down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s unemployment grew marginally in the second quarter of 2018 from a year ago, with agriculture employment down to a historic low and fewer industry jobs while services gained, the state statistics office said.

Amid a declining labour force, unemployment moved up marginally to 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2018 from a year ago, the highest level in eight quarters, matching figures seen in the second quarter of 2016.

Unemployment has remained below 5 percent since the third quarter of 2015.

The labour force bulletin of the Census and Statistics Department showed unemployment was 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 as well as the first quarter of 2018.

Employment in agriculture fell to a historic low of 24.2 percent in the June 2018 quarter amid a recovery from a two-year drought, with 1.93 million working in the sector, down from 2.11 million, or 26 percent of total labour a year earlier.

Agriculture sector gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in the second quarter as supply chains returned to normal, but contributed 8.4 percent to GDP.

Employment in industrial activities fell to 2.19 million, or 27.5 percent of the labour force, from 2.30 million, or 28.3 percent of labour from 2017.

Economic growth in the industrial sector was 2.3 percent, contributing 25.6 percent to GDP in the second quarter.

The services sector which grew the fastest in the quarter at 4.8 percent, comprising of 57.1 percent of the GDP saw an increase in employment.

Around 3.85 million or 48.3 percent of labour was employed in services in the second quarter, up from 3.72 million, or 45.7 percent of the total a year earlier.

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Overall, due to agriculture and services, the June 2018 quarter saw the market lose 168,574 jobs from 2017.

Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday said that growth in Sri Lanka is picking up and Sri Lankans are being pessimistic.

Economic growth was 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2018, down from 4 percent a year earlier.

The report said 32.3 percent of women between the ages 15-24 were unemployed, while 21.5 percent of women aged between 25-29 years were also seeking jobs.

Unemployment among males was low, except in 15-24 age group, where the rate was 17.6 percent.

Female labour force participation fell to 32.5 percent in the second quarter of 2018 from 35.9 percent a year earlier, with declines being seeing across most age groups.

During the June quarter in 2018, 7.97 million people were employed, falling from 8.14 million a year earlier but growing marginally from the March quarter.

While the working age population increased by half a million from a year earlier, the number of people in the labour force fell by 167,334.

Labour force participation fell to 53.9 percent during the second quarter, down from 54.7 percent a year earlier (Colombo/Oct09/2018)
 

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