290,000 new graduates jobless due to Covid

Around 290,000 fresh graduates became jobless during the second quarter of 2021 as uncertainties induced by the Covid-19 pandemic stayed high, the government’s planning unit said Wednesday.

The number of unemployed fresh graduates rose by 10 per cent from a year earlier, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said in its quarterly social situation.

The second-quarter unemployment rate stood at 1.89 per cent or around 730,000 jobless people in total.

Even though the 2Q unemployment rate improved from the same period last year when the Covid-19 pandemic began, it was still higher than the pre-pandemic levels, the report said.

The NESDC’s study also found that the jobless tend to stay unemployed for a longer period of time, with 147,000 people unemployed for over a year.

Many urban workers have returned to their hometowns and joined the agricultural sector or became self-employed as a result of business restrictions imposed to contain the epidemic, it said.

The NESDC’s definition of unemployment covers people who have no work or who work less than one hour per week, including those filing for unemployment benefits from the Social Security Office.

Meanwhile, the finance minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith said in an economics conference on Wednesday that he expects to see the Thai economy expand by 4-5 per cent in 2022 based on the return of foreign visitors and better pandemic situation.

The current projection of Thailand’s gross domestic product figure this year from the NESDC is in a range of 0.7-1.2 per cent, while the private sector’s forecast is from 0.5 per cent contraction to zero growth.

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