Increasing unemployment in Pakistan

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Increasing unemployment in Pakistan
Increasing unemployment in Pakistan

In countries like Pakistan, millions are turning to informal income streams to earn a living during the global economic slowdown due to bottlenecks in overall growth.

A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) titled “Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking sectoral strategies to create a human-centered future of work” indicated that 35 million fewer workers would have been employed in 2021 than they would have been if the slowdown did not occur.


In a recent report, the World Bank highlighted the fact that three years after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic conditions continue to deteriorate, both due to volatility and high levels of uncertainty caused by a mix of geopolitical challenges and climate-related events. For instance, several provinces in China were affected by a heat wave that took place during the summer, and Pakistan was hit by flooding.

A number of economic, political, and humanitarian crises have also been witnessed in this region, as Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka provide examples.

Informal employment data are sparse at the country level when compared to formal employment data. It is evident from the data that, where there was a recent time series available, some countries experienced spikes in the informal employment rate between 2019 and 2021. The informal employment rate in Pakistan (Q2 2019–21) increased from 81.9% to 83.5 percent as a result of the addition of 3.5 million new people to informal employment.

Globally, there are a number of issues that strongly affect the Asia-Pacific region, such as climate change and environmental fragility. Asia-Pacific accounted for 190 natural disasters in 2021, which accounts for more than half of all natural disasters currently occurring worldwide. In the past few weeks, there have been a number of major natural disasters in countries within the region, including floods in Pakistan, devastating droughts in parts of Bangladesh, and a record-breaking heat wave in some parts of China.

In 11 of the 21 industries examined between 2019 and 2021, employment decreased between the two years. A significant drop in tourism has led to a severe decline in employment in the accommodation and food service sectors in many countries in the region. This is the result of job losses. The COVID-19 shock has resulted in a halt to the sector’s steady expansion in terms of its contribution to total employment in the Asia Pacific region.

Three-fifths of the Asian-Pacific countries were still experiencing at least a 5 percent decline in employment in 2021 compared to pre-crisis levels. A total of ten countries reported at least a 10 percent decline in employment losses compared to 2019.

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There was a significant increase in manufacturing employment in some countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Malaysia, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam), Pacific islands (Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa), as well as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan in South Asia.

Taking a closer look at the historical data, it can be seen that five out of the ten sectors with the sharpest job losses were those where there was a large concentration of women workers in the region. As well as being well represented in nine of the industries that showed job growth during this time period, women were also well represented in six of them; however, they were not present in the four industries that saw their jobs grow the most (construction, warehousing, utilities, and IT, as well as other information services).

According to the report, new technologies across the region are generally viewed as a positive force that will contribute to employment and earnings growth over the long term. As governments are increasingly embracing technology in different ways to provide services to the public, they are also expanding the provision of social services and improving monitoring and enforcement of labor laws in order to produce positive outcomes.

In addition, new technologies and the potential of the digital revolution are also hailed as an opportunity. This could improve opportunities and working conditions in a wide range of segments, according to the report.

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