Sri Lanka unemployment up in 2018 first quarter amid drought
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s unemployment in the first quarter of 2018, rose to 4.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent a year earlier, amid a drought, while the share of services sector employment continued to edge up, a survey by the state statistics office showed.
The absolute number of employed person fell from 8.23 million to 7.96 million persons with agriculture workers falling from 2.221 million to 2.139 million, the state statistics office said according to its latest survey.
The survey results were, not statistically significant with the survey having a 95 percent confidence level, but the drought may have depressed numbers, Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) said.
"In 1st quarter 2018 the estimated labour force and employed populations have declined and unemployed and inactive populations have increased compared to the estimates in 1st quarter 2017," the report said.
“Ground level information show that one of the reasons for these changes may be the prevailed (sic) drought conditions and other environmental factors that affected the employment.”
The unemployment rate hit 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and fell to 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter.
Many sectors are complaining of shortages of workers.
The Central Bank this week said that economic growth during the first two quarters of 2018 was likely to be around 3.4 percent.
Unemployment was high among both males and females between the ages of 15-24 at 15.5 percent and 33.1 percent respectively, while there was 18.2 percent unemployment among women aged 25-29.
The total number of employed fell to 8 million in the first quarter of 2018 from 8.2 million a year earlier, and 8.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, with falls recorded in all three sectors.
The agriculture sector employed 2.1 million, while 2.2 million were employed in industrial activities, and 3.6 million in services.
Labour force participation was 65.4 percent among males and 34.6 percent among females. (COLOMBO, 3 August, 2018)