The unemployment rate in the third quarter rose by 1.2 per cent, higher than the 0.9 per cent increase in the third quarter last year, said Porametee Vimolsiri, secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, a state think-tank agency.
Overall employment declined by 1.6 per cent to 37.6 million, down from 38.3 million in the same period last year, he reported on Thursday.
The drought in July and August caused severed damages to crops, fisheries and livestock in many provinces, contributing to a 1.2 per cent employment decline in the farm sector, said the NESDB.
A 1.8 per cent decline in employment in non-agricultural sectors was caused by two main factors. First, firms continued to employ advanced technology in both production and business processes. Also, the nation’s growth in exports was focused on capital-intensive industries, such as electronics, automobiles and chemical products industries. In contrast, labour-intensive industries such as textiles and clothing had witnessed a slowing of export growth, with some products still sitting in inventory.
“Manufacturing sector continued to use their old production facilities and did not employ new workers, although exporters had exported more products in the third quarter,” said Porametee. Employment should increase next year if the economy continued to expand at a similarly high rate to this year, he said.
Thailand’s economy expanded 4.3 per cent in the third quarter, higher than had been expected by the market, but lower than the growth enjoyed in many other Asean countries.