Thailand’s unemployment rate has reached its lowest point in three years, dropping to 1.05 percent in the first quarter of this year from 1.15 percent in the previous quarter. Official data released by the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) on Monday reveals that the country’s vital tourism sector has played a significant role in this positive trend.
The NESDC report highlights the robust recovery of Thailand’s travel industry, which has been a crucial source of employment. As the Southeast Asian nation’s travel sector continues to gain momentum, the labor market experiences a notable improvement. The first quarter saw the number of individuals in the workforce rise to 39.6 million, marking a 2.4 percent year-on-year increase. This growth can be attributed to expansion in both the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, as indicated by the NESDC.
While the manufacturing sector experienced a slight decline in employment, the NESDC attributes the overall progress in the labor market to the ongoing economic recovery and the sustained growth of the tourism industry.
The report also provides insights into the working conditions and wage trends within Thailand. Working hours in the private sector witnessed a 1.5 percent year-on-year increase, indicating a higher level of productivity. Moreover, the average wage across all sectors rose by 1.3 percent compared to the previous year, reflecting an increase in purchasing power for the workforce.
However, the NESDC report sheds light on a pressing issue concerning the availability of skilled workers in the information technology (IT) sector. The agency reveals that the annual demand for IT-related jobs ranges from 20,000 to 30,000, but there is a shortage of graduates with the necessary skills to meet this demand. Addressing this discrepancy will be crucial in supporting the nation’s technological advancements and fostering a competitive workforce.
In addition to the positive developments, the report underscores the potential impact of climate change on Thailand’s labor market. Extreme weather conditions resulting from climate change can adversely affect farm labor income, employment, and agricultural output. These findings highlight the need for the government and relevant stakeholders to prioritize climate resilience measures and sustainable agricultural practices to safeguard the livelihoods of those dependent on the agricultural sector.
Thailand’s declining unemployment rate, driven by the resurgence of its tourism industry, signifies a promising step towards economic recovery. Nevertheless, addressing skill shortages in the IT sector and mitigating the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector are critical for sustaining this positive trajectory and ensuring a resilient and inclusive labor market in the years to come.