Pandemic creates labour shortages in Thailand

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The Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to an ageing population and declining birth rates, has created a labour shortage in Thailand. Over the past two years, unemployed Thais have started to leave their jobs to work as freelancers or run their own businesses.

The National Economic and Social Development Council states that the number of Thais in the workforce will go from 43.2 million in 2020 to 36.5 million in 2040. The ratio of working-age Thais with Thais aged 60 and over is expected to decline from 3.6 in 2020 to 1.8 in 2040.

Reasons for this decline vary by industry. In the tourism sector, this is due to many Thais not wishing to return to jobs in an insecure industry, one hotel president says. For migrant workers, who were laid off from work during the height of the pandemic last year, many are not returning to Thailand. This is partly due to increased border restrictions.

Thailand’s Total Fertility Rate, or TFR, the average number of children born to women over their lifetime, is dramatically declining. In 2020, Thailand’s TFR dropped to below 600,000 for the first time, bringing the TFR to 1.51. Global organisations consider this “extremely low.”

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The World Health Organisation and World Bank State that if a country’s TFR is under 2.1, some societal issues will occur. This includes an increase in the proportion of elderly people, and problems with migrant workers. Thai officials are now calling for there to be training programs helping unemployed workers who have been laid off.

Source: Bangkok Post

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