Vietnam's unemployment inched up in first quarter

Thanh Nien News

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An employee at a private mechanic workshop on the outskirts of Hanoi. Photo: AFP
An employee at a private mechanic workshop on the outskirts of Hanoi. Photo: AFP

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A total of 1.16 million Vietnamese were unemployed in the first three months this year, accounting for 2.43 percent of the country's total labor force, the labor ministry reported on Monday.
The rate was 2.21 percent in the same period last year, according to the ministry's quarterly report on the local labor market, which was resumed after being suspended for three quarters following criticism of its accuracy.
In the latest report, the ministry said nearly 25 percent were unemployed for longer than 12 months. 
The unemployment rate among women was 2.45 percent. The rate in cities was 1.8 times higher than that of the countryside, it said.
The report also showed that nearly 4 percent of university graduates and post-graduates were jobless, or more than 177,700 people, or an increase of 9.4 percent year on year.
The rate remained "high" among the group of people with two-year college degrees, 6.69-7.2 percent, while it was low, around 1.97 percent, among the group without degrees, it said.
'Not good'
About 1.13 million people, or 2.43 percent of employed people, worked less than 35 hours a week and wanted to increase their working hours, the ministry reported.
The part-time employment group, in fact, worked 24.46 hours per week on average, or 50 percent less than that of the fully-employed group.
Deputy Labor Minister Doan Mau Diep said although Vietnam's unemployment rate was "not high" considering that nearly 98 percent of the workforce had jobs, the whole picture was "not bright."
That's because even many of those with jobs are not working full time, he said. 
Another problem, according to Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, chief of the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs under the ministry, was that nearly 16 percent of employed people earned less than VND2.7 million (US$123.7) a month, or only half of the average income. 
The figures showed that Vietnam's labor market was "not good" with huge number of people with unstable and low-paid jobs, Huong said.
Vietnamese employees' monthly income increased by 1.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, according to report.
People who worked in the state sector earned better than those in the FDI sector, VND6.9 million compared to VND5.5 million ($316-252).

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