Thai employment dips: Farm job cuts sow 0.1% decline in Q1 stats

Picture courtesy of Thai PBS

Thailand today experienced a 0.1% decline in employment during the first quarter compared to the same period last year, primarily due to reductions in agricultural jobs, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). This follows a 1.7% year-on-year increase in employment in the previous quarter.

The drop in agricultural employment was significant, with a more than 5.7% decrease year-on-year in the first quarter, coinciding with the off-season for farming. In contrast, non-farm jobs saw a 2.2% increase, largely fueled by the tourism sector, as reported by the state planning agency.

The hotel and restaurant sector experienced a notable rise in employment, growing by 10.6% year-on-year in the March quarter, driven by the influx of over 9.3 million foreign tourists, the agency stated.

The national jobless rate climbed to 1.01% in the January-March period, up from 0.81% in the last quarter of 2023, the agency confirmed.

Thailand’s unemployment definition is notably narrow, counting as jobless only individuals who did not work a single hour during the surveyed week. Analysts suggest that this metric fails to capture the extensive unofficial economy prevalent in the country.

During the January-March period, the total workforce in Thailand was recorded at 40.2 million, a decrease from 40.7 million in the previous three months, according to the agency, reported Bangkok Post.

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin called for an urgent meeting with economy ministers to discuss short-term economic stimulus measures to address Thailand’s sluggish economic performance in the first quarter of 2024.

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) reported that Thailand’s economy grew by only 1.5% year-on-year for the first three months of 2024. This lacklustre growth has prompted the government to consider immediate measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and households at risk of defaulting on their debts, according to government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

The government recognises the necessity of implementing these short-term measures swiftly, although more long-term strategies will be introduced in the future, said Chai.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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