The number of unemployed people increased by 80,000 to 26.8 lakh in 2016-17 financial year from 26 lakh in 2015-16, according to the latest Labour Force Survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
New job creation also dropped by 1 lakh to 13 lakh in 2016-17 from 14 lakh in 2015-16, said the report, released recently.
The number of labour force increased to 6.35 crore in FY17, riding on an increase of women labour force by 9 lakh, from 6.21 crore in FY16, the report said. Some 14 lakh new people joined the labour force in FY17.
The number of women labour force rose to 2 crore in FY17 from 1.91 crore a year ago while male workforce increased to 4.35 crore from 4.31 crore.
Women participation also rose to 36.3 per cent from 35.6 per cent while male participation dropped to 80.5 per cent from 81.9 per cent causing overall fall in labour force participation rate to 58.2 per cent in FY17 from 58.5 per cent in FY16. Unemployment rate remained stable at 4.2 per cent.
Actual number of unemployed people will, however, be much higher in the country as many jobless people remains out of the calculation because of definition constraints, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics officials told New Age after the report dissemination seminar at its auditorium in Dhaka.
According to the report, the number of working age population, 15 years and above, was 10.91 crore, 67.6 per cent of 16.13 crore population of the country, in the year.
Of them, only 6.08 crore or 56 per cent was employed, 2 per cent or 26.8 lakh unemployed and 42 per cent or 4.55 crore remained outside labour force who were mainly housewives, students and discouraged job seekers.
Of the 4.55 crore, a large portion was actually unemployed but they were counted as outside labour force because of definition constraints, said a high bureau official.
He said that those who did not seek job in the reference time, previous one month during the survey, were not considered unemployed.
People in three criteria — without work, available for work and seeking work but do not get paid job or engage in self-employment — are defined as unemployed.
According to International Labour Organisation, those who work at least one hour a week are not unemployed. The bureau also follows the criteria.
According to the survey, 65.8 lakh labour force remained under-utilised which included unemployed, part-time workers and potential labour force.
Of them, 14.6 lakh were part-time workers and the rest 24.3 lakh were potential labour force who were not seeking job but would do if got.
Another official said that most of the potential labour force stopped seeking job being disheartened. They were actually unemployed, he said.
According to the survey, youth employment rate dropped in the country to 11 per cent from 11.7 per cent while unemployment rate among university graduates, aged 15-29 years, rose to 11.2 per cent from 10.2 per cent a year ago.
The report said that the highest 2.47 crore or 23 per cent of labour force was employed in agriculture sector followed by 2.37 crore or 22 per cent in service sector and 1.24 crore or 11 per cent in manufacturing sector.
Bureau director Kabir Uddin Ahmed made a presentation on the findings of the survey while planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, state minister for finance and planning MA Mannan, Statistics and Information Division secretary Saurendra Nath Chakrabharty, bureau director general Md Amir Hossain, among others, spoke at the programme.