- Year-end unemployment lower than 5.6% forecast for first half
- CB and DCS estimate 451, 000 unemployed population by year-end
- Total labour force estimated at 8.54mn, up from 8.47mn by end-June.
- A ratio of 4% or below typically referred to as near full employment
The unemployed population is projected to have fallen further towards 5.3 percent by the year-end as the economy added jobs and companies recalled workers who may have been furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) combined with the Central Bank projected an unemployed population of 451,000 by the year-end, which comes to 5.3 percent of the labour force, and lower than the 5.6 percent or 471,000 people who were unemployed by end-June.
“The negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic amidst the persisting structural issues led the labour market indicators to deteriorate during the first half of 2020,” the Central Bank said.
Sri Lanka’s unemployed population was 411,000 by end-2019, which was 4.8 percent of the total labour force.
A ratio of 4.0 percent or below is typically referred to as a near full employment. But Sri Lanka has long been grappling with locating people, mainly skilled people for various sectors in both blue collar and white-collar categories.
As Sri Lanka is vigorously pursuing a policy of local industrial renaissance, it could face bottlenecks if the education and vocational training institutions fail to produce the required manpower for such businesses.
Sri Lanka as a policy opposes importing labour except in instances such as when the investment is a foreign-funded one or when a company is confronted with a scarcity in certain technical expertise.
By the end-2020, Sri Lanka’s total labour force or the economically active population is estimated at 8.54 million, up from 8.47 million by end-June.
Out of the total labour force, 8.089 million people are employed.
Meanwhile, the labour force participation rate or the ratio of labour force to the working age population, is projected to have increased slightly to 50.9 percent by the year-end from 50.6 percent in end-June.