Rise in unemployment forecast – Department of Labour

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The Department of Labour informed that it is highly likely that the employment rate will soar as predicted by credit-rating agencies, due to the prevailing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Speaking to The Morning Business, Department of Labor Deputy Director Chandramali Premaratne mentioned that data from the Department of Census and Statistics may support this prediction as reports for all quarters of 2020 have been published.

The Department of Census and Statistics too mentioned in the Sri Lankan Labour Force Survey statistics that the labour force participation rate was 51.0% while the unemployment rate for the survey period was 5.7% in the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, the estimated labour force participation rate for the fourth quarter of 2020 was 50.1% with the unemployment rate at 5.2%.

According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), the unemployment rate totaled 4.4% in 2018, two years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Department of Labour
Department of Labour in Srilanka

Premaratne mentioned that the Department can instead analyse what has happened and take measures against the challenges. However, given that there has not been a similar economic catastrophe such as the Covid-19 pandemic, Premaratne said it is not clear what the exact impact on employment will be.

She further informed that to her knowledge, there has not been any official measures taken against the predicted unemployment rate.

“However, there is a new project with the private sector that is going to start next month, where we were thinking of collecting data on what kind of jobs that will have high demand for employment in 2022, after the impact of the pandemic to the Sri Lankan economy,” Premaratne added.

She further noted that there are no other measures currently planned for the people who lost their jobs. The only advice is, she stated, to go for more opportunities as one cannot simply give up when they are asked to leave their position at their workplace.

It was further learned that the Department of Labour has the capacity to promote foreign job opportunities to workers who are interested. However, Premaratne suggested that there might be a decreased amount of job opportunities abroad due to the effects of the pandemic on a global scale.

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