Good job

The prime minister, in his State of the Nation address, on employment:

I am pleased to report to the Hon’ble Members that a total of 320,900 are now employed. This shows that 96.69% of our workforce is employed leaving an unemployment rate of 3.3%, marking a downward movement for the first time in recent years. This indicates very clearly that this government is well on track to achieve its ambitious target of 2.5% unemployment rate in the next three years with a huge labour market in the making.

This is good news. After all, unemployment, especially youth unemployment, is one of our biggest concerns.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Our Hon`ble OL atleast has no arguments on this issue but he keeps open to the commentators to point out perhaps to build up himself against this issue.

    But i truely aprreciate the Hon`ble OL for aprreciating the government openly for the first time. The mandate of the opposition in my view is not only to point out the wrongs and keep silience when govt do something measurably good.

  2. I think issue raised is very relevant, and we should discuss it properly. Unemployment is an issue that has to be taken seriously by any government, sometimes with failure and seldom with success.

    In the context of Bhutan, several views in many forums have been expressed mainly pointing at mismatch between job and skill required. Construction industry is booming but hardly any Bhutanese are employed in this sector. Reason may be our workforce do not have necessary skills; or they are not willing to work under difficult conditions; or the wage level is low; or simply they are not interested. It is important to find the reason, and take some corrective measures. Recently, several IT graduates turned down offer to work for Infosys India. The reason given is that their first choice is civil service. There is nothing wrong in hoping to join civil service, but opportunities and vacancy are limited in civil service; Also, joining civil service does not guarantee that skills and knowledge acquired from the universities can be applied in work place, because it happens many times, for example, that commerce graduates are made to work as GAO in the geog, or as registration officer in Dzongkhags.

    If unemployment problem has to be eased, I think we should have several vocational institutes to train job seekers in their field of interest. For instance, in construction there is huge demand for stone and wood carpenters, but our job seekers do not necessarily have those skills. Government support for private sectors has to be beefed up with tax incentives and soft loan policy. In turn, PVT. sector should employ Bhutanese job seekers on priority basis.

    Even in civil service, there are dearth of qualified professionals. Instead of sending school graduates for general degrees government should emphasis more on technical and scientific qualification. In Bhutan, we lack very badly soft ware engineers. There is lot of scope in this profession. So far I have not come across any serious mathematician in Bhutan. This profession is very important. There is lot of opportunities in biotechnology, chemistry, physics, environmental sciences, agricultural sciences etc. These are profession Bhutan badly need at present.


  3. Unemployment is a sensational issue. It can be used either for or against by the political parties. I don’t know if the unemployment rate derived at is from the national statistics bureau or from the molhr. And I am sure the definition on which it was calculated was precise and befitting our situation.

    If our experience and some statistics from other sources are anything to go by, the figures in pm’s address is hard to believe. I am sure they must be having numerous supporting data, statistics and documents to substantiate the figures. Some independent researchers may give a thought on it. It would be unfortunate if politicians play with unemployment rate without actually effecting the unemployed Bhutanese.

  4. Firstly before we say whether Bhutan is on the right track in terms of employment or not we need to be clear in understanding the definition of unemployment.

    What is Bhutanese definition of unemployment – those who are employed for how many number of years or months or days? For how many hours of work?
    For example, is someone who works an hour a day and earns less than Nu. 100 a day considered employed? There is a need to first define the term “unemployment” in terms of type of employment (part time or full time), range of hours of work (eight hours or 1 hour or 24 hours, amount earned (Nu. 5 or Nu. 5000)etc.

  5. I think the unemployment rate in Bhutan cannot be compared to other developed nations. Most of our people are self-subsistance farmers.
    In reality, any country with unemployment below 10% is pretty good. Even most developed nations has close to 10% unemployment rate. Infact Bhutan’s unemployment rate of close to 4% can be considered excellent under the normal circumtences.
    What we would like to know is what % of Bhutanese are employed in govertment, corporations and private enterprises, not including the farmers.

  6. I feel it is important we know how our government define employment and workforce. For eg. in some countries if u work for at least one hour per week in paid emplyment thn u r considered employed. likewise the total workforce consists of the employed and the unemployed JOB SEEKERS.

  7. Calculation of unemployment rate is simple and straight-forward. It is the number of unemployed by total work force. So it is important that the definition of unemployed and employed be defined in our context to reflect our actual unemployment scenario.

    According to the labour market information bulletin 2010 where the 3.3% is declared, unemployed is defined as those persons who did not work during the reference period but available or looking for work. Reference period is defined as the last one week’s time prior to the date of enumeration in the same bulletin. Although the definition of work is not given in both 2010 and 2009 bulletins, unpaid family workers are considered employed in 2009 bulletin.

    Work is however defined in the labour force survey report 2009. It is in accordance to the ILO standards and UN 1993 system of national accounts. It is defined as any kind of works or businesses including collecting water or firewood, cow herding, tailoring or making mates, etc. even for the households’ own consumption. Ample examples were given as under:

    Activities counted as work
    1. Growing or gathering crops from the field, producing eggs, milk, food, cow herding, etc.
    2. Milling and other food processing activities, milling grains, making butter and cheese, brewing local wine, etc.
    3. Yarning and weaving clothes, making baskets and mats, peat making, tailoring, and making furniture, etc
    4. Construction of own house/buildings, major renovation of private roads and other private facilities.
    5. Fetching water, cutting or collecting firewood.
    6. Activities of a religious order such as a Rimdro, rituals etc.

    Activities not counted as work
    a. Preparing and serving meals
    b. Unpaid family member (baby-sitting, training & instructing children, transporting household members/goods, repairing household durables, vehicles or other goods, etc.)

    It is evident that our unemployment rate is calculated based on these definitions. There are no traces of our own definition in any of the reports or bulletins where our unemployment rate is declared. Now my real worry is if we go by these definitions there will be hardly anyone unemployed. It is a common knowledge and needs no explanation. Faulty indicator leads to faulty decisions, plans, policies and programmes. It will be disastrous.

    Politicians’ influence, statisticians’ ethics and skills, survey errors, and statistical biases are altogether a different issue.

  8. Sonam_t, well summarised. I agree with you that if we go by the definition we will have none as umemployed. For example even children under five help carry water and firewood in the villages. But I think the above definitions were not specific definition of unemployment or employment but rather defining what is labour. AS you said calculation is easy but defining correctly is important. It would be easier to define who is employed than who is unemployed? What is the age range for the work force? Can an old retired person be counted as labour workforce? I don’t think so. So we agree that the Labour Ministry must define the terms unemployment and employment before saying what % is the unemployment rate in our country. If not the number will be misleading and make no sense. Following international standard definition is good but since the cultural and social context and settings are different in each country we need to have our own definition. We cannot always copy and paste for every field… Let us shrug our shoulders and wake up.

  9. lynpo,i liked ur statement cited after pms quotation la.


  1. […] 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 […]

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