Q4 jobless rate drops to 1.64% as virus curbs eased

Q4 jobless rate drops to 1.64% as virus curbs eased

Job seekers applying for vacancies at the Bangkok Job Fair 2021 held in March last year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Job seekers applying for vacancies at the Bangkok Job Fair 2021 held in March last year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Thailand's unemployment rate in the fourth quarter fell to its lowest level since the pandemic and the jobs situation should improve further with restrictions easing and more foreign tourists returning, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said on Monday.

The impact of the Omicron variant, which has seen record high cases in recent days, has not been significant, allowing economic activity in the Southeast Asian country to continue, the agency said.

Thailand's official unemployment rate dropped to 1.64% in the December quarter, representing 630,000 jobless workers, from 2.25% in the previous quarter, the agency said in a statement.

That was the lowest since 1.03% recorded in the first quarter of 2020 before the economy felt the full impacts of the pandemic.

Thailand's definition of unemployed is narrow, however, and only counts as jobless those who do not work a single hour in a surveyed week. It also excludes owners of businesses or farms and analysts say the figures do not catch Thailand's significant unofficial economy.

Employment dipped 1% in the December quarter from a year earlier but rose 0.2% in the whole of 2021, with 37.8 million people employed, helped by more jobs in the farm sector, the agency said.

The labour situation is not yet stable but a reopening of the economy and outbreak controls should increase jobs, NESDC deputy secretary-general Jinanggoon Rojananan told a news conference.

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