Launched in Hanoi yesterday by the General Statistics Office (GSO) with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the report showed the employed population increased by 1.1 million over the last three quarters but at the same time, Vietnam’s labour force expanded at the same rate.

By October 1, Vietnam had 53.1 million people aged 15 and older who belonged to the labour force. Almost 70 per cent of them were from the rural areas.

Unemployment rate continued to stay higher in urban areas than in the countryside. The report showed that 3.3 per cent of the urban labour force was unemployed, in comparison to 1.4 per cent in the countryside in the first three quarters of this year.

Ho Chi Minh City topped the list of unemployment rate in 2012 at 3.9 per cent. The Mekong River Delta (without Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi ranked second and third in the list while the northern midlands and mountains had the lowest unemployment rate at nearly 0.8 per cent.

Although the unemployment rate in Vietnam was not high despite the economic slowdown, many workers had little choice but accepting jobs in the informal sector with low income and instability to support themselves and their families.

“More resources should be spent addressing the informal economy, which is typically linked to low productivity, little protection and poor income,” said ILO Vietnam country director Gyorgy Sziraczki.

Meanwhile, workers in foreign-invested enterprises and the state sector gradually decreased in 2012 (about 3 per cent point in each group from the first to the third quarter). In contrast, the non-state sectors, including the self-employed, household enterprises, private enterprises and cooperatives were on a rise.

A gender gap existed as 2.5 per cent of female workers were out of job, compared to 1.7 per cent for males.

Finding jobs was also a challenge for young people aged 15-24 as they accounted for 47 per cent of the total unemployed, according to the survey.

“Producing timely and quality labour statistics is vital for evidence-based policy-making to support a sustainable economic growth,” said Sziraczki.

According to director general of General Statistics Office Do Thuc, GSO will produce and publish Labour Force Survey Report on a quarterly basis with the ILO support from next year.

“Survey questionnaires and reports will be based on internationally standardised methodologies and approaches,” he said.

Vietnam Investment Review - December 19, 2012