THE ranks of workers rose 1.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year, driven by a three-year high in non-farm employment and fueling expectations for further gains in the year’s final quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said .
NESDB secretary-general Thossaporn Sirisamphan said that both farm and non-farm employment rose for the first time in 22 quarters, led by a 10.7 per cent increase – the highest since 2014 - in the logistics field.
Farm employment climbed 1.9 per cent, while non-farm employment advanced 1.6 per cent. Manufacturing employment gained for a third straight quarter , with growth of 2.8 per cent for the quarter, while construction employment went up for the first time in two years.
The country’s unemployment rate stood at 1 per cent, with some 370,000 people out of work, in the quarter. This improved from a rate of 1.2 per cent in the same quarter of last year.
For the quarter, labour productivity edged up 1.6 per cent, a gain that is in line with rises in wages. Wages in the whole system wages inched up 1.4 per cent. In the private sector, they rose 3.1 per cent and, after inflation, moved up 1.4 per cent.
“In the last quarter of 2018, the employment prospects look good following the growth in the Thai economy in light of easing pressures on Thai exports and on Thailand's trading partner countries,” Thossaporn said.
“However, risks from the global economic and financial systems must be monitored closely with the US-China trade spat and the delayed recovery to Thai tourism in particular.”
Thailand's household debt increased 5.7 per cent year on year to Bt12.34 trillion, about 77.5 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), in the third quarter. Household debt amounted to 77.7 per cent of GDP in the first quarter and 80 per cent in 2015.
Personal loans overdue for three months or more increased 9.7 per cent to Bt9.84 billion, However, credit-card loans overdue for three months or more fell 0.2 per cent to Bt7.2 billion.
“Although household debts rose, this was not by much compared with the previous quarter or the same period of last year,” Thossaporn said.
“There has not been a signal for default concerns. People's debt repayment ability increased, reflecting that non-performing consumption loans increased at a decreasing rate from 10.3 per cent in the previous quarter to 7.8 per cent (in the third quarter) as a result of the economic growth and more employment.”