Vietnam unemployment rate nearly 2 pct: ILO survey

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Nearly one million people have remained unemployed in the last three quarters, accounting for some 1.88 percent of the country's workforce, a survey by the International Labor Organization has found.

It was due to the economy's failure to create enough jobs for new entrants and the existing jobless, the organization said in a press release after doing the Labor Force Survey Report 2012 together with Vietnam's General Statistics Office.

Vietnam had 53.1 million people aged 15 and above in the workforce as of October 1, almost 70 percent of them in rural areas.

Some 47 percent of the unemployed were between 15 and 24.

Around 3.3 percent of the urban workforce was unemployed, while the rate was 1.4 percent in the countryside.

Ho Chi Minh City recorded the highest rate with 3.9 percent. It was followed by the Mekong Delta provinces and Hanoi which ranked second and third. The northern midlands and mountains had the lowest rate of around 0.8 percent.

The number of workers employed in the foreign-invested and state sectors decreased by around 3 percent since the first quarter.

It increased in the non-state sector comprising of self-employed, household enterprises, private enterprises, and cooperatives.

Not the whole

Speaking to online newspaper VnExpress, Nguyen Bich Lam, deputy chief of the General Statistics Office, said: "The economy was very troubled in 2012, but the unemployment figures are not as bad as expected."

The figure remains virtually unchanged since 2006 and 2011, the news website said Friday.

But Lam said that the jobless rate only reflects part of "the economy's health," unlike in other countries because the informal labor sector is growing.

The number of freelance workers is on the rise, going up from 34.6 percent in 2010 to 35.8 and 36.6 in 2011 and 2012.

Some economists have said that this factor makes the methodologies used in employment surveys, including sampling, inaccurate, VnExpress reported.

The ILO release quotes the director general of the General Statistics Office, Do Thuc, as saying his agency would produce a Labor Force Survey Report on a quarterly basis with ILO support from next year, using internationally standardized methodologies and approaches.

"Producing timely and quality labor statistics is vital for evidence-based policymaking," the ILO's Vietnam country director, Gyorgy Sziraczki, said.

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