Jobless rate falling, but '230,000 new graduates still out of work'


Although unemployment continues to decline as the economy recovers from the pandemic, recent graduates accounted for half of the 460,000 unemployed people in Thailand in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council.

The council said on Thursday that the jobless rate fell for the fifth consecutive quarter – to 1.15% in the fourth quarter of last year – as the recovery gained steam.

Half of those unemployed, 230,000, were recent graduates. When asked why they were jobless, 64.5% of the recent graduates said they were still looking for jobs, the council said.

“This reflects the fact that it is more difficult to find jobs,” the council said in its latest quarterly report on Thailand’s social and economic situation.

According to the report, a total of 39.6 million people were employed in the fourth quarter of last year, a 1.5% increase from the same period a year earlier. It attributed the expansion to more jobs in the non-farm sector, particularly in hospitality, retail and wholesale, due to the strong recovery in tourism and increased confidence in the economy.

Jobless rate falling, but \'230,000 new graduates still out of work\'

The agricultural sector, however, saw a 3.4% decline in jobs due to severe flooding in southern provinces and the migration of temporary workers to higher-paying sectors.

The council forecast a continued improvement in the Thai labour market this year, as the country’s economy is recovering and foreign tourists are returning to Thailand.

A recent survey by the Ministry of Labour found that hotels, restaurants and stores in 60 provinces are looking to hire 10,000 more people.

The council attributed the shortage of labour in the hospitality and retail sectors to an influx of tourists, which is causing demand to rise. More than 28 million foreign nationals are expected to visit Thailand this year, accounting for about 70% of the total who visited in 2019, the year before Covid-19 struck.

The council’s outlook for the exports is not promising. It said exports would weaken because many of Thailand’s key trading partners are experiencing recession due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which has continued for over a year.

Thailand’s exports have declined since October last year, forcing businesses to suspend new hirings, which is bad news for new graduates looking for jobs, the council said.

Thailand’s inflation rate remained high, at 5% in January, the council said, explaining that this was the result of pressure from the global economy and international disputes.