Sri Lanka had estimated over 200,000 unutilised labour potential in economically inactive group,that showed ‘some interest’ in employment in 2018, according to Department of Census and
The estimated 201,403,which is categorised as potential labour force, accounted for 2.6 percent of inactive population in 2018, that showed some interest in getting a job, but is not identified as unemployed.
However, the potential labour force has declined from a high of 230,908 recorded in 2017. The potential labour force consisted of estimated 77,288 males and 124,115 females in 2018. The potential labour force include inactive persons who actively seek employment, but who are excluded from unemployment as they are not immediately available; persons who are not seeking an employment due to indefinite lay-off or discouragement; and persons facing a variety of obstacles in seeking employment, including personal and family-related factors in addition to the
Further, Sri Lanka also had 82,131 discouraged job seekers accounting for 1.1 percent of the economically inactive group in 2018. Disbelief in finding a suitable employment, failure to find any work, lack of training and skills required for the employment and personal difficulties while finding an employment were cited as reasons for discouragement. Over 50 percent or 41,468 of discouraged job seekers were males and remaining 40,663 were females.
According to DCS, Sri Lanka’s 48.2 percent or 7.8 million working age population is in the economically inactive group, which comprised of 25.9 percent of males and 74.1 percent females in 2018. The main reason reported for the majority among female (61.9 percent) to be economically inactive was their involvement in housework activities. However, that percentage was only 3.2 percent for male. The highest reported reason for inactivity among male, (40.9 percent) is “engaged in studies”. Further, 8.5 percent of economically inactive group cited physical illness/disability as the main reason to be economically inactive. The economically inactive rate for prime age group (25 – 54) was about 32.2 percent and was 5.1 percent for males and 55.1 percent for females.