By The Nation
Total employment stood at 38.1 million, a small decrease of 0.2 per cent year on year. The unemployment rate remained low at 1.2 per cent, the state think-tank reported.
Employment in the non-farm sector was given at 25.7 million, a drop of 2.8 per cent. The decline of employment in the retail and wholesale sectors was due to businesses introducing new technologies and automation in their production and services.
The farm sector employed 11.7 million, a rise of 6 per cent, due to an expansion of farm output driven by favorable weather. However, prices of many farm products such as rubber sheet and palm oil remained low and attributed to the declining income of farmers. The average price of farm products decreased by 12.3 per cent year on year in the first quarter, following the trend in declines of 2.2 per cent,12.9 per cent and 6 per cent in the second, third and fourth quarters last year respectively.
The average income of labourers, however, slightly increased by 2.3 per cent year on year and labour productivity rose 5.1 per cent.