Sri Lanka unemployment spikes in 2Q but non-farm jobs up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate spiked to 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 4.2 percent a quarter earlier, amid falling agricultural workers, despite the creation of new non-farm jobs, official data showed.

The unemployment rate was not much changed from the second quarter of 2015, when it was 4.5 percent.

Sri Lanka’s Census of Department said the rate was not significant when considering the margin for sampling error.

Workers in industry rose to 2.121 million in the second quarter from 2.013 million a year earlier.

Services sector workers rose to 3.732 million in the second quarter of 2016 from 3.598 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile agricultural workers fell 1.961 million from 2.275 million a year earlier.

It was not clear whether current drought conditions contributed to lower farm employment.

For incomes in agriculture to grow (labour productivity to increase) the total workforce has to reduce.

In countries like China and East Asia in this century and in Europe during industrialization poverty was reduced by the movement of workers to industry and services from farming.

Sri Lanka’s farming sector is also protected by the rulers, with import taxes. Landowners and farmers in some like paddy, potatoes and onion profit by gouging the hungry with higher prices.

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In potatoes in particular, classic economic ‘rents’ are earned by landowners who rent their lands to agricultural workers to farm who are protected from competition by high import controls.

Workers in tea, and spices areas earn their incomes without oppressing consumers and produce world beating foods which can be exported. (Colombo/Dec27/2016)

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