Despite the prolonged drought that was present throughout the final quarter of 2016, Sri Lanka’s unemployment fell to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) and 4.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed. In comparison, the prices of goods and services increased at moderate levels, with national inflation averaging 4.43 percent in the quarter, up from 4 percent YoY, while the 12-month moving average for 2016 indicated 4 percent inflation during the final quarter. Most of the unemployment in the country continued to be among youth and women, with unemployment particularly high among women of higher educational levels.
Employment in agriculture, the worst hit sector due to the drought, fell to 27.6 percent from 28.1 percent YoY, while the gross domestic product (GDP) contribution from agriculture for the quarter fell 8.4 percent YoY.
The services sector employed 46.7 percent of the total workforce, down from 46.9 percent YoY, while the sectoral GDP increased 4.6 percent YoY.
The industries sector absorbed the fall in employment across the other two sectors, claiming 25.7 percent of the employment share, up from 25 percent YoY, amid a 9.2 percent YoY sectoral GDP boost.
The labour force participation rate for the quarter was 54 percent, up from 53.6 percent YoY.
However, the economically active population fell to 8.35 million from 8.95 million YoY, with the largest decline observed in the urban areas, while the economically inactive population too fell to 7.11 million from 7.75 million YoY.