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June 5, 2020

Unemployment rate to surge to 9.56pc in 2020-21

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June 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday admitted that the projected unemployment rate surged from 5.79 percent in 2017-18 to 9.56 percent for next fiscal year 2020-21 keeping in view low GDP growth rate and negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

The projected data shared by the Planning Commission high-ups before the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) held under with Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Jehanzeb Khan in the chair on Thursday revealed that the number of unemployed labour force went up from 3.79 millions in 2017-18 to 6.65 million till next fiscal year 2020-21.

This projection confirms that the number of unemployed labour force witnessed an increase of 2.86 million people during the tenure of PTI-led regime as number of unemployed stood at 3.79 million in 2017-18 when the PML-N-led government completed its tenure and afterwards the number of unemployed workforce increased every year. It shows that the number of unemployed workforce increased to 4.78 million in financial year 2018-19 and 5.80 million in outgoing fiscal year 2019-20. It also projected that number of unemployed persons would go up to 6.65 million in next fiscal year.

This presentation made it clear that the Labour Force Survey data beyond financial year 2017-18 has not yet been published by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The figures of subsequent years have been estimated on the basis of corresponding years’ growth rate and sectoral employment elasticity.

With population figure of 218.89 million in next fiscal year 2020-21, the labour force participation rate was projected at 31.78 percent. Total number of labour force is projected to stand at 69.56 million in next fiscal year out of which employed labour force might be standing at 62.91 million so there would be 6.65 million unemployed labour force in Pakistan. The presentation also dwelt upon other key macroeconomic indicators and stated that the current account deficit was projected at negative $8.31 billion for outgoing fiscal year but it improved significantly and estimated to stand at negative $3.8 billion till end June 2020. The current account deficit decreased by 73 percent in first three quarters of the current fiscal year in pre-COVID-19 situation.

The exports and imports also faced dip in the aftermath of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic as exports were projected to fetch $22.714 billion till end of the current fiscal against initial estimates of $26.187 billion. The imports were projected to decrease to $42.412 billion in the outgoing fiscal from initially envisaged target of $53.664 billion. The remittances is projected to decline to $21.5 billion for current fiscal year against initially fixed target of $24.03 billion.

It also highlighted that economic challenges in 2019-20 are compounded by shocks including contraction in domestic and external demand, substantial reduction in trade volume, disruption of production activity, massive fall in consumer confidence, tightening of financial conditions that could complicate refinancing of maturing external debt and sharp spikes in global risk aversion and the flight of capital to safe assets led to portfolio outflow of near $2.9 billion in current fiscal and alone $2 billion just in March 2020.