Unemployment news

First the good news: unemployment has dropped from 4% to 3.3% and will be further reduced to 2.5% by 2013. The prime minister announced the good news in his State of the Nation report last year. The government reiterated the good news in January this year, during a review of the project Accelerating Bhutan’s Socio-economic Development.

Now the not-so-good news: the government’s unemployment figures have been questioned, forcing them to “… refute allegations that the data they used to indicate drop in unemployment rate for 2010 was manipulated”.

And finally the bad news: more than 6000 people applied for the 307 job vacancies that a hydropower project recently announced.


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  1. Dogchok-gi-dokchog says

    OL, Please don’t jump to conclusions. To give a clearer and more objective picture of unemployment based on this report, one should analyse how many ofthe 6000+ applicants are already employed and just looking for greener pastures and how many are actually jobless. It is in our nature to seek better prospects and not necessarily becasue we are unemployed.

  2. if the 6000+ are looking for greener pastures… they are either not happy with their current job or underemployment which also another form of unemployment. If they are all first time job seekers we really have a serious problem that needs more proactive action from the side of the Government than just talking about it. we need real action and results to say that YES.. we are working towards reducing unemployment in Bhutan,particularly among the young people.

    the other day I was visiting the MOLHR here in Thimphu. I was helping a girl engage in the pre employment program through one of our projects. Pre employment engagement program is an initiative of the Ministry to engage young people in meaningful manner until they find a permanent job. This is a good initiative but it pays Nu.1800/- a month through a govt. grant.
    I am not sure whether that is enough or not for someone to survive here in the capital for one month. still, i guess something is better than nothing.
    Anyway, my point was.. there were a few vacancy announcement that day. But there were over 70 applicants competing for what seemed like a barely ten vacancies. This worried me because I was concerned about where would the rest of the 60 be and how many visits would each of them have to make to the Ministry in search of a decent job.

    Most of the young people were class XII passed.

    I am not sure whether or not the data was manipulated… but if it is .. its not good because then we will never be able to “fix the problem”.
    Youth unemployment is a world phenomenon and not unique to our country. I don’t see a reason to hide the real numbers and therefore the real problem…
    it is important that we get the real picture so that we can come up with creative initiatives to address it. giving away false data is only going to do more harm than good for the future…. as when we learn about the real issue , the problem might get too large to handle…Unemployment leads to other social issues …..It just might be too late if we wait longer..
    and please don’t give us the lame excuse of inadequate resources…If you the Govt. had the resources to pay salary hikes in the first year of their term to the MPs… and couldn’t wait until the fourth or the fifth year to motivate people in politics (actually if that was the main objectives, it could have waited – it would have saved us a lot of money ) I am sure there will a way to find resources for this more urgent and a bigger social issue that has a much wider negative impact on the overall development of the country…

  3. Sonam penjor says

    well said tashi, our mps and ministers have proved very self thoughts. does the molhr, knows the ground realities. The fact is even the pre employment was there before our govt. came to action. what changes our present govt. brought in this ministry is simply minister.
    no suggestions to be suggested in this issue.
    but lefts lot of area for govt. to improve and impress people before the election.

    cheers dpt. govt.,

  4. Our employment problem is complex and there is no quick fix solution to this. I agree with many others who have said in this blog that they find the labour ministry completely useless, but since it does exist, it needs to look at why we have the problem in the country in the first place. There needs to be a thorough study on why exactly we have unemployment problem when we are such a small population, and then work on a comprehensive policy reforms that would sweep all parts of the government. The main players would be the education, our education system is woefully inadequate, and there needs to be a lot more done to improve it, still. Others would be the former ministry of ‘Trade and Industry’. This ministry needs to improve the business environment in this country and remove all overlapping laws that require people to go around in circles to establish and run a business. Then our agriculture ministry needs to work better so that agricuture is explored as a profitable occupation, the RNR centers in the villages need to work smarter. unemployment cannot be solved by creating a few jobs and bringing the numbers down when most of the people who are ’employed’ with the help of the labour ministry are not really employed at all, they are interns, and hugely unsatisfied, and of course always looking for better jobs, so that even if they dont figure in the statistics they appear at the interviews. To tackle this problem we need a change in the attitudes of the people, and a conducive environment that allows everyone to make a respectable living in society. as long as there is huge salary gaps in jobs people will avoid certain kinds of jobs and crowd others. and this will result in us always asking expats to do the jobs that no one wants to do, or jobs that we think no one is capable of doing.

  5. Unemployment and job applications need to be broken down and analyzed. Just looking at the total figure is like presenting facts such as our Per capita GDP is US 1500 + when in fact we know that 23% of our people live in poverty. Macro statistics or overall figures can often be misleading, looking at just the number 6000 is alarming, but then we need to know how many of these already have jobs. I think the OL cannot be held as being misleading, but rather, i think our reporters need to be more analytical and present us with more meaningful breakdowns in their reports, so that the general public understands the picture as a set and the subsets which lead to the creation of a set.

  6. don’t just blame…give solutions. employment problems are there everywhere.even giant economies like US and EU are struggling to fix it. it has so many factors and there are no easy solution…..people are talking as if entire ministry is sitting like a duck without doing anything…am sure they must be doing something or else it won’t reduce from 4% to 3.3%..let us be fair and give constructive criticism and most importantly solutions…

  7. wispering_eyes says

    “if the 6000+ are looking for greener pastures… they are either not happy with their current job or underemployment which also another form of unemployment”

    If the above statement is another form of unemployment then i guess the whole civil service is underemployed, the entire private sector is underemployed.
    which individual is happy with one’s job and perks? every human being is always looking for greener pastures. forget the civil servants, what about the people working in the private sector? they are constantly looking for better jobs. this does not mean we should blame the government for this. governemnt is creating as many vacancies as possible but all can not be desk jobs or well paying jobs.


    When 6000 plus applies for the vacancy of 300, then questions is coming to my mind that why civil servants(Already Employed) are applying for Puna tsang Chu project? Is it because of salary package????????????????????
    Ol answer me now!11111111!!!!!

  9. Manipulation is one that makes data or information look sexy. Unemployment is a common problem in almost all countries around the world. There is no quick and easy fix to it. It is really going to take some time. ILO has defined unemployment as when people are without jobs and they have actively looked for work within the past four weeks.

  10. Unemployment in our country in my opinion is mismatch of supply and demand, not really shortage of supply and excess of demand.

    There are so many job vacancies not getting filled up in govt., corporate and private offices, factories and field agencies because they are Blue-collar in category. The demand from day one in a job usally is seating on a revolving chair and summoning attendants. This is what employers are not able to float in the market.

    Today, many local government offices are running short of Tshogpas (get employed and fight for adeuate renumerations from the government). There other day, one Class A contractor was complaining of not receiving applications for his repeated announcement of 12 vacancies of work site supervisors, store keeper and office assistant relevant for class X & XII qualifications.

  11. hi, i m one of the 6000 + applicants for PHEP-II. i have applied because i m not satisfied with my current job ( salary) therefore, i had applied for 140% pay on the basic pay amounting to about 18000/month. And with my present salary its extremely hard to survive in expensive Thimphu.
    so one had to understand that those 6000+ applicants r not all jobless. This makes new comers challenge with experienced people like me.
    Hope i have cleared ur doubts.


  1. […] impressively, from 4% to 3.3%. At least, that’s what the government claimed. But some experts had questioned the low unemployment […]

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