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Unemployment lowest since start of COVID outbreak

Unemployment lowest since start of COVID outbreak

BUSINESS: Thailand’s unemployment rate in the second quarter of the year was the lowest since the COVID-19 broke out in early 2020, a clear sign the economy is recovering from the pandemic’s impact, says a senior official of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

COVID-19
By Bangkok Post

Monday 29 August 2022, 11:30AM


Office workers wear face masks during lunch hour on Sukhumvit Road near Asok junction in Bangkok. According to the NESDC, the unemployment rate fell to 1.37% of the total workforce during the second quarter. Photo: Bangkok Post

Office workers wear face masks during lunch hour on Sukhumvit Road near Asok junction in Bangkok. According to the NESDC, the unemployment rate fell to 1.37% of the total workforce during the second quarter. Photo: Bangkok Post

NESDC secretary-general Danucha Pichayanan said on Friday (Aug 26) unemployment in the second quarter tallied 550,000, representing 1.37% of the total workforce of 39.8 million, declining from 1.53% in the first quarter.

The unemployment rates in 2020 and 2021 were 1.69% and 1.93%, respectively. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate was around 1%, reports the Bangkok Post.

The improving unemployment rate in the second quarter is a sign the economy is rebounding from the pandemic’s impact, said Mr Danucha during a media briefing on the NESDC’s “Thailand’s Social Outlook in the Second Quarter of 2022” report.

The number of employed people in the second quarter stood at 39mn, up 3.1% year-on-year, attributed to the growth of employment in the non-agricultural sector.

The non-agricultural sector in the period employed 27.4mn people, a 4.9% increase over the same period last year, with the manufacturing, wholesale/retail and transport/storage sectors growing by 6.1%, 12.1% and 4.9%, respectively.

Employment in the construction and hotel/restaurant industries fell by 5.4% and 2.6%, respectively.

He said the economic recovery has resulted in higher demand for workers by the private sector, especially for migrant workers. There are currently 2.2mn migrant workers in Thailand, down from 3.1mn before the outbreak.

Mr Danucha said the government has not banned the use of foreign workers and the number of these workers depends on private sector demand.

Household debt increased at a slower rate in the first quarter of 2022. During the first quarter, household debt amounted to B14.7 trillion, an increase of 3.6% year-on-year.

The pace is slightly reduced from the fourth quarter last year, when household debt stood at B14.6trn, an increase of 3.8% year-on-year.

Household debt in the first quarter this year stood at 89.2% of GDP, down from 90% of the fourth quarter last year.

Consumers’ concerns about the COVID-19 situation and the economic downturn slowed households from accumulating more debt, according to the report. The report said ability to pay debts remained stable.

As a result of the implementation of assistance measures by financial institutions and debt restructuring to help slow the accumulation of bad debt, the ratio of non-performing consumer loans to total loans stood at 2.78%.

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