Thai unemployment rate hits highest level since pandemic began

At least 870,000 Thais are currently unemployed according to third quarter statistics released on Monday, due to the economic disruption caused by the most severe wave of the pandemic.

The unemployment rate for the third quarter stood at 2.25 per cent, the highest since the pandemic began in March last year, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said in its latest social report.

“The prolonged impact of Covid-19 has put a burden on job openings,” the report said, since many businesses halted their operation in a wake of the Covid-19 restrictions and to save costs.

Among jobless people, there were about 290,000 fresh graduates unable to secure their first jobs, a 10 per cent increase from a year earlier. 

“The majority of the unemployed graduates in general fields such as business administration and marketing were likely to be unemployed for a longer period of time,” read the report, due to a non-diverse skill set.

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.

Household debt

The latest household debt data, as of the second quarter, rose to 14.27 trillion baht or 89.3 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The ratio was slightly down from a 90.6-per-cent from the previous quarter, but still in a critical level. 

“Thailand ranks 12th out of 70 nations in the world in household debt to GDP and 5th in Asia,” the report said. 

Looking forward, non-performing loans, debt-relief aids, and informal debts must be monitored, the NESDC warned.

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