While Bhutan’s unemployment rate in 2022 was estimated at 5.9%, a study on Bhutan’s labor force participation rate by the National Statistical Bureau (NSB) recently underlines a series of reasons for remaining economically inactive, that begins from people without required skills, qualifications and experiences, those waiting to go for studies, disability, domestic work, people staying in retreat (meditation) and others.
Economically Inactive Population is those above the age of 15 who neither worked nor was seeking or available for work during the reference period. It includes people who are not part of the labour force or who fall outside labour force.
In other words, economically inactive persons are those who are neither employed nor unemployed.
The NSB’s survey found that about 287,785 of the surveyed population in the country were economically active as of 2022. However, the number of economically inactive people in the country as of 2022 was 178,983.
The study found that about 2,686 of the population surveyed from 178,983 were persons with disability. About 3,277 are retired pensioners, while 3,812 were waiting to go abroad. 149 wanted to go for further studies while 218 are in retreat (meditating).
The survey also found that as of 2022, about 1,987 of the people were found economically inactive due to lack of skills, qualifications and experiences.
According to the survey, about 74,159 of the population in the urban areas were economically inactive. The survey found that from this group about 30,226 cited houses and family duties as reasons, followed by 24,942 of the population, who are either students that are studying or on trainings. About 6,967 are those who are 65 or above and thus economically inactive.
Similarly, 104,894 of the population in the rural areas are economically inactive. The survey found that about 38,694 of the population are on studies and trainings, followed by 29,618 with similar reasons like house and family duties. 22,953 are those 65 years of age and above.
Meanwhile, from the 178,086 surveyed populations, NSB found that about 68,115 of the population were without any education; 31,562 from the total of 68,115 are above the age of 65.
Similarly, 30,210 of the population with higher secondary education are also found economically inactive by the level of education, followed by a certificate in diploma with 2,310, bachelor’s degree with 14,477 and masters degree and above with 1,476. Monastic education with 5,545 was also found economically inactive population by the level of education.
Total employed person by type of enterprise as of 2022 in the country stand at about 287,785, of which, 43,136 of the population are employed by government agencies, followed by agriculture farming with 123,417, state owned company (SOEs) with 15,076, private limited company with 8,704, private business with 82,332, NGOs with 1,046, arm forces with 12,542 and public limited companies with 1023,
For instance, 98,308 of the people were employed by enterprises based in urban areas taking private business as top employer with 43,731 people, followed by government agency with 24,100. 189,476 of the people were employed in rural areas with the agriculture sector as the top employer.
Amongst the person employed as per the level of education, about 5,665 of the employed had a Masters Degree and above, 24,212 a Bachelors Degree; and about 30,895 and 32,331 with higher secondary education and middle secondary education respectively. 17,215 of the employed had a background in in non formal educational and 7,408 of the employed had a monastic education.
For instance, in the country the top person employed as per the nature of employment and major economic activity including agriculture, forestry and fishing comes to the top economic activity where it employs about 125,160 of the population surveyed, followed by public administration and defense, compulsory social security with about 30,538 and about 27,310 in wholesale and retail trade followed by 18,391 in construction sector, manufacturing sector with 19,577 and education sector with 16,381.
Meanwhile, about 12,828 of the surveyed unemployed population in the country prefer government jobs, 2,125 of the population private jobs; about 828 of the population government corporation and 491 of the unemployed population prefer the armed force and 263 NGOs.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu