The office uses the unemployment standard of the International Labour Organization which defines a jobless person as one having no income during the past seven days but seeking a job and ready to work right after recruitment.

Housewives, students and those without working ability are not calculated, Huong said.

In terms of part-time employment, those who work 20 to 35 hours per week and need more, up to 2.8% of Vietnamese workers were working fewer than 20 hours per week according to the survey in April last year. The figure might increase strongly due to the economic slowdown.

"The next survey will be on April 1. The State budget allows us to conduct only an overall inspection on population, housing and employment each year," Huong said.

Unemployment in cities is 4.65%, equivalent to over 500,000 out of 11 million people of working age in the urban area. "The unemployment rate is one of the most important factors in the millennium development targets of the United Nations," Huong added.

In 2008, the number of people employed in the economy went up 2% year-on-year to 45 million, including four million in the State-run sector, 1.8 million in the foreign-invested sector, and around 39 million in other sectors. Average income in the State-owned sector is 2.7 million dong per month, up over 28% compared to 2007.

Statistics released by GSO on the last day of last year show that Vietnam's population is about 86 million, with 49.1% of them being men. The urban population has risen 2.85% to 24 million and the rural population has grown a slight 0.55% to 62 million.

Saigon Times Daily - January 5, 2009