Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sri Lanka lose 155,000 industrial jobs

(LBO) - Sri Lanka has lost 155,000 industrial jobs in the second quarter of 2009 from a year earlier, the services sector lost 99,000 but agriculture sector generated 118,000 jobs, while total unemployment rose slightly, a government survey showed.

The quarterly labour force survey by Sri Lanka's statistics office does not include the Northern province, which was wracked by a civil war till May.

But compared to the first quarter of 2009, there was a gain of 19,721 industrial jobs, though the services sector showed a loss of 34,155 and agriculture, showed a fall of 230,350 from a peak of 2.6 million jobs in the first quarter.

Overall unemployment also rose to 6.3 percent 5.5 percent from a year earlier and 5.2 percent from the first quarter. The data excludes both the Eastern and Northern provinces.

In the first quarter overall unemployment rose to 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent, which officials said was not statistically significant.

"We can consider this data as statistically significant but we can say for certain if unemployment is rising if the trend continues for the next two quarters," G Y L Fernando who heads the employment division of Sri Lanka's statistics office said.

"Unemployment is no longer going down."

According to official data Sri Lanka's unemployment has fallen from 8.1 percent in 2004 to 5.2 percent in the last quarter of 2008.

The data is based on a sample survey and is not an exact count.

A large number of Sri Lanka's employable people go abroad. But Sri Lanka's economy has been hit by a global slump and growth fell to 2.1 percent in the second quarter.

Exporters have also warned that Sri Lanka's rupee is overvalued due to high 20 percent plus inflation created by the Central Bank in recent years, which will result in industrial job losses.

But Sri Lanka's economy has been stabilized amid tight monetary policy over the past year, despite a balance of payments crisis and economic growth is expected to pick up over the next two quarters, along with a global recovery and post-war reconstruction.

Macroeconomic stability in the form of low inflation is necessary to prevent the entire population - including the already employed and old and sick retired persons from losing the value of their salaries, pensions and savings.

© Lanka Business Online

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