Thimphu records highest unemployment rate

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Bhutan’s unemployment rate is 2.4% of which Thimphu has the highest unemployment rate of 6%, according to the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017 (PHCB).

The census shows a total labor force of 340,236 persons of which 8,137 persons are unemployed, giving an unemployment rate of 2.4% for the country. This means that 2.4% of the persons aged 15years and above who were looking for work and available for work could not get work during the reference period.

Unemployment rate for females is 2.9%, higher than males at 2.1%. By area of residence, the unemployment rate in urban area is 4.6% which is three times more than in rural area at 1.3%.

However, at the Dzongkhag level, Thimphu recorded the highest unemployment rate with 6% followed by Chukha and Sarpang with 2.7% and 2.3% respectively. Similarly, Gasa has the lowest unemployment rate with 0.7% and among the Thromdes, Thimphu Thromde has the highest unemployment rate with 7.3% followed by Phuentsholing with 4%, Gelephu with 3.4% and Samdrup Jongkhar with 3.2%.

Overall, there has been a decline in the unemployment rate in all dzongkhags with the exemption of Thimphu. Unemployment rate in Thimphu has increased to 6% in 2017 from 5.4% in PHCB 2005.  In comparison, Pemagatshel, Zhemgang and Samdrup Jongkhar have seen significant drops in unemployment rate in 2017 as compared to PHCB 2005.

The unemployment rate increased with increasing level of education. There is a sharp increase in unemployment rate from those with just primary education to those with secondary level of education. The unemployment rate is less than 1% for those with primary education and no schooling, which accounts for 0.2% and 0.5% respectively.

Unemployment rate for persons with secondary education is as high as 6.7% and for above secondary level education, it is 7.1%. By sex, there are more females than males in secondary level of education with 8.8%.

Youth aged between 15 and 24 years’ unemployment rate is 10.6% accounting for 5,371 unemployed youth. The unemployment rate for other age groups are less than 0.5%, except for the age group 25 – 34 years, which has an unemployment rate of 2.1%.

Of the total labor force of 293,912 who are employed, 57.3% are male and 42.7% are female.

Among who are employed, 43.9% are employed in agriculture sector followed by construction sector with 11% and public administration with 10.8%, and 5.6% in the wholesale/retail trade.

Compared to 2005 PHCB, the number of persons employed in agriculture sector has increased by 37,074 people in 2017 from 108,617 persons in 2005. The 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan were conducted from May 30 to June 1, 2017.

Tshering from Thimphu