Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bangkok Post/TNA: Unemployment 1.5%

700,000 more Thais employed in Feb

More than 35 million Thais were officially employed in February, 700,000 more than compared with the same period last year, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO).

NSO Secretary-General Thananuch Tritipphayabutr said that data regarding to the employed labour force in Thailand in February showed that of the 35.53 million Thais employed, 12.42 million worked in agriculture while 23.11 million worked in other sectors.

Compared with the same period of last year, she said, an added 700,000 people were employed, of which 310,000 people were employed in the agricultural sector and 390,000 were in other job categories.

Thailand's labour force outside of the agricultural sector increased in the hotel and restaurant, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail sectors by 210,000, 100,000 and 50,000 workers respectively, he said.

Meanwhile, employment in the construction sector contracted to 180,000 workers, while the transport sector was reduced by 70,000.

As for the numbers of the unemployed, the secretary general said in February, 540,000 workers were listed as unemployed, or 1.5 per cent.

The highest rate of unemployment was in the northeastern region with 1.8 per cent, followed by the north at 1.5, while Bangkok, the central region and southern region shared the same rate at 1.3 per cent

The NSO secretary general revealed that overall unemployment was reduced compared with the same period of last year. (TNA)

Obviously, these figures are good news. I haven't taken a university course in macroeconomics in a long time. But if unemployment is at 1.5% (full employment), inflation is at low, and GDP is growing at a respectable 3.5% - 4.5% rate, then one would think that the Bank of Thailand would no longer need to lower interest rates to keep inflation in check. Also, it seems the stimulus package is unnecessary. Also, I think wage inflation has been kept in check, not because Thais are more productive, but because of the massive influx of laborers from neighboring countries who are doing the crappy work for 40-80 baht a day.

Okun's Law of Unemployment: When output grows less than its potential growth rate, unemployment should increase.

There is no unemployment increase, so it seems there is no economic slowdown.

I'm not an economist, so please help me out it I don't know what the hell I am talking about.

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