Unemployment rate jumps to 13-year high

Published: June 4, 2015



In one of the most alarming pieces of macroeconomic data released by the government, the unemployment rate has risen to 8.3% during fiscal 2015, the highest level in 13 years. The unemployment rate has risen for each of the Nawaz Administration’s two years in office, and the number of unemployed people is now 1.5 million higher than when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn into office in 2013.

The last time the unemployment rate was this high was in fiscal 2002, when it stood at 8.3%, during the early years of the Musharraf Administration. During the entirety of the Zardari Administration, the unemployment rate rose by only 1%, rising from 5.2% in 2008 to 6.2% in 2013. By contrast, the rate has already risen by more than twice that much in the first two years of the Nawaz Administration.

The new official estimates, estimated by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, were shared with the National Economic Council last Monday. During the NEC meeting, PM Nawaz Sharif asked his cabinet ministers to devise a strategy to tackle rising unemployment. Planning Minister Ashan Iqbal is said to have told the NEC that unemployment will be one of the biggest concerns in the years ahead, they added.

A major reason behind growing unemployment in the country is the fact that the pace of economic growth is not sufficient to create more jobs.

The ranks of the unemployed are expected to rise by another 400,000 people in fiscal 2016, taking the additional number of unemployed people during the Nawaz Administration to 1.9 million. The unemployment rate is expected to jump up to 8.6%, a number that could be even higher if the government’s target growth rate of 5.5% for fiscal 2016 is missed.

At the end of fiscal 2014, which was first year of the PML-N government, the unemployment rate jumped to 7.3%, as 800,000 more people joined the ranks of the unemployed due to a slow economic growth rate of only 4%. The pool of unemployed people increased to 4.6 million by June 2014.

In the current fiscal year, another 700,000 people were added to the unemployed population and the unemployment rate stood at 8.3%, according to Planning Ministry estimates. The pool of unemployed people has grown to 5.3 million people, as the government again missed its economic growth rate target of 5.1%.

According to various independent and official studies, Pakistan needs annual growth rate of at least 7% to create enough jobs to absorb new entrants into the labour market.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will today (Thursday) launch the Economic Survey of Pakistan and will defend the economic performance of his government besides giving reasons for missing the economic growth target, which is estimated at 4.2% against the target of 5.1%.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (19)

  • ziaurrehman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 9:01AM

    Potential PTI voters… Recommend

  • ziaurrehman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 9:06AM

    Main Nawaz should understand that not everyone is a “successful” businessman like him. Majority are salred class and need job for daily bread and butter… Recommend

  • Adnoon Siddiqui
    Jun 4, 2015 - 9:10AM

    Nawaz Sharif you are doing a great job. Don’t let these insignificant little news items distract you from your goal (which is to expand your personal business empire). The rise in unemployment is solely due to dharna/container tactics employed by your opposition. Recommend

  • pakistani
    Jun 4, 2015 - 9:23AM

    and patwari are like “well done nawaz”. Seriously, this was your roshan pakistan? UN-employment has doubled in last 2 years.Recommend

  • SuperNeo
    Jun 4, 2015 - 9:50AM

    That terrorists traning camps are on decline.Recommend

  • AK
    Jun 4, 2015 - 10:15AM

    Shocking.. this is even after significant brain drain from the country. dont want to imagine this figure without that brain drain….Recommend

  • incognito59
    Jun 4, 2015 - 10:35AM

    And they just spent 50 billion on a Metro! Recommend

  • JB
    Jun 4, 2015 - 12:22PM

    ‘Experienced leadership’ everyone!!! And spending 50 billion on Metro?? Yes, I guess people can live without power for another couple of years…well done!Recommend

  • Adnaan Gudhiqi
    Jun 4, 2015 - 12:43PM

    I am so proud of my master, Nawaz Sharif, for making millions more suffer hunger and destitution! It makes my heart full of envy when I ride the Metro bus, looking at the cadavers littering the streets from the glass windows. Lucifer, we owe this to you!Recommend

  • Real Patwari
    Jun 4, 2015 - 12:53PM

    People are unemployed because they are dojng business . Yellow taxi.Recommend

  • salman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 12:56PM

    Maybe the unemployed can be given free tickets on metro bus?Recommend

  • salman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:01PM

    Missing: Roshan Pakistan
    Finders Reward: free metro bus tickets
    If found please report to Raiwind, or your nearest patwari. Recommend

  • salman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:05PM

    Wait, I thought pmln had the beat economic team?
    And main sahib still has to ASK them to devise a strategy? What are they doing themselves? Eating nihari and dreaming of mmetro buses? Bunch of jokers…. Recommend

  • Shakil
    Jun 4, 2015 - 1:29PM

    Well done Mr Sharif! If economic conditions and employment can be created by mere slogans you would have done wonders! But it take real actions and metro dont create major employment either.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 4, 2015 - 7:16PM

    thank God they have metro to search for jobs fasterRecommend

  • Someone somewhere
    Jun 4, 2015 - 11:25PM

    May be they are hiring from future , never heard if some one is being hired for 120billion metro project or failed nandipur project(list is long) and all that flyovers and underpasses. All they need 50 NAIB Qasid, 70 stenographer to run the state affairs. Way to goRecommend

  • waqas javed
    Jun 5, 2015 - 12:56AM

    Let us wait for the federal ministers blaming IK and sit-ins for this predicament.
    Why we are blaming government for this? They were busy in fabrication of metro bus, so that the people who are already employed can reach their destination earlier. This is revolution, don’t take it light! :DRecommend

  • Bashir
    Jun 16, 2015 - 3:21PM

    Even this number is bogus. Unemployment should be well above 15% in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2015 - 5:36PM

    Unemployment is increasing in Pakistan because our govt is paying no heed on improving our education system which is way lower than rest of the world and even India.Children learn nothing in institutes except making affairs and wondering how this happens and how that happens, except some children who are fond of studding and curious to learn more and whose family contributes in educational career of their child… which are very rare of course.Recommend

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