LFS Survey unveils that Prime Minister Imran Khan will succeed in fulfilling his promise of 10 million jobs creation in Pakistan

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed that Pakistan’s economy had created 5.5 million jobs during the past three years. On average, 1.84 million jobs were created a year, which is a much more significant figure than the yearly average of creation of new jobs during the 2008-18 decade.

Provincial Breakdown of Employment Rate

According to Labour Force Survey 2020-21, the unemployment rate increased greatly in three provinces. The highest one was recorded at 8.8% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the last fiscal year. While jobs were created all over Pakistan, the Sindh province remained an exception, where the unemployment rate significantly went down to just 3.9% in three years.

The national unemployment rate stood at 6.3% at the end of the last fiscal year, which is better than the preceding year but higher than the 5.8% recorded at the end of the PML-N tenure, according to the survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The Planning Ministry and the PBS have not yet officially released the survey.

The survey findings were endorsed on Wednesday by a technical committee comprising official and independent experts. According to the officials of the Ministry of Planning and Development, the PBS covered 6,808 enumeration blocks and 99,904 households for survey purposes. The findings showed that the number of employed people increased to 67.3 million by June 2021 –up from 61.7 million at the end of the PML-N tenure.

However, the official unemployment rate in June 2018 was 5.8% went up to 6.3% at the end of the third year of the PTI rule. The unemployment rate was the lowest in Sindh at 3.9%, the Pakistan Peoples Party rules, but it was highest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 8.8%, followed by 6.8% in Punjab – the two provinces governed by the ruling party.

Reason behind growth in Employment

A key reason for an overall low unemployment rate of 6.3% was the inclusion of contributing family workers in the definition of the employed people whose share in total employment was above one-fifth. The share of employers remained unchanged at 1.4% in three years. The employees also went down from 42.4% to 42% in three years, but own-account workers’ share went up to 35.5%, according to the survey.

During 2018-23, on average, 1.84 million jobs a year were created – far better than the yearly average recorded during the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and the PPP governments, according to the survey’s findings.

During the five years of the PPP (2008-13), about 6.9 million jobs had been created, with a yearly average of 1.4 million. Compared to this, during the PML-N 2013-18’s tenure, about 5.7 million jobs were created, with an average of 1.14 million a year.

The average economic growth rate during the PML-N five years rule was significantly higher than the average growth rate during the PTI tenure. For the first time in the past 70 years, the country had also witnessed a 1% contraction in the Gross Domestic Product during the fiscal year 2019-20 when the global pandemic struck the world.

The survey findings revealed that the sectoral contributions to job creation were uneven, and the majority of the new jobs had been created in the industrial sector.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Promise to Create 10 Million Jobs

The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) revealed that over 31% of the country’s youth were unemployed by 2018-19. Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to create 10 million jobs during his government tenure. The creation of 5.5 million jobs suggested that the economy might generate 9 million jobs by 2023 at the current rate.

All persons of 10 years of age and over who worked at least one hour during the last week were treated as employed persons. However, the employed people’s definition of 10 year’s age was not consistent with Pakistan’s global commitments to end child labor. The definition needs to be revisited.

The latest survey findings showed that the unemployment rate in the fiscal year 2020-21 was 6.3% – higher than at the end of the PML-N government. But it was lower than the 6.9% recorded in the preceding survey year, according to the survey.

The unemployment rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was 7.2% three years ago, which jumped to 8.8% in the last fiscal year – the highest among four federating units. The unemployment rate was 6.8% in Punjab in the last fiscal year – up from 6%. But it was 3.9% in Sindh last year – down from 4.9% three years ago. The joblessness rate was recorded at 4.3% in Balochistan – slightly higher than three years ago.

In terms of sector, the share of the agriculture sector in total employment went down from 38.5% three years ago to 37.4%. But the share of the industrial sector increased from 23.7% to 25.4%. The services sector’s share in employment also decreased from nearly 38% to 37.2%.

In absolute terms, during the past three years, about 2.5 million jobs were created in the industrial sector compared with 2.1 million created during the five-year PML-N tenure. Another 1.4 million jobs were created in the agriculture sector and 1.7 million in the services sector. During the PML-N tenure, around 4.3 million jobs were created in the services sector.

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