Sri Lanka unemployment rises to 4.6-pct in 4Q18

ECONOMYNEXT- Unemployment in Sri Lanka grew to 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 4 percent a year earlier, with loss of jobs in agriculture and industry sectors, the state statistics office data showed.

Unemployment in Sri Lanka was 4.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018, a Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) report said.
The joblessness in the fourth quarter was a three-year high, matched in the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2016
Sri Lanka faced a political crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018, when President Maithripala Sirisena attempted to replace Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with former rival Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The move was unsuccessful, but the political uncertainty affected economic activity. 
The economic growth during the quarter slowed down to 1.8 percent.
The loss of jobs came mainly through the agriculture sector, with 2.07 million employed (25 percent of the total), down from 2.24 million a year earlier.
This was despite the agriculture sector growing 4.5 percent in the quarter from a year earlier.
Industrial sector employment was 2.24 million (27.7 percent of the total), down from 2.35 million a year earlier, while the sector growth during the quarter fell 3.6 percent.
More jobs were created in the services sector, growing to 3.78 million (46.7 percent of the total) from 3.71 million a year earlier while economic growth during the quarter was 4.3 percent.
Female participation in the labour force during the fourth quarter was 34.3 percent, down from 36.4 percent a year earlier.
Unemployment remained high among the youth, especially females.
In terms of education, unemployment was highest among those who had GCE A/L or higher qualifications at 8.7 percent, most of whom were females.
"The problem of unemployment is more acute in the case of educated females than educated males, which was observed consistently over the results of previous survey rounds as well," DCS said.
However, Sri Lanka creates more female university graduates than males.
Earlier surveys have shown firms are averse to hiring females as many leave jobs when they marry, or have children.
The 2019 budget put forth proposals to incentivize firms to hire more females, by providing tax breaks for maternity leave.
Better public transport and childcare services are planned to increase female labour force participation. (Colombo/Apr01/2019)

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