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What is employment and unemployment: Some…

Q&A

What is employment and unemployment: Some frequently asked questions

Mr. Phu Huynh, labor economist, International Labor Organization in Asia – Pacific

1. Why is the unemployment rate in Vietnam less than 2% while in many developed countries it is double digits? Why is there this difference?

A low unemployment rate may not represent poverty, because high unemployment is often found only in developed countries with low poverty rates. In countries with restrictions on social insurance, unemployment insurance and other social benefits, many people simply cannot survive being “unemployed”. They have to find a way to make a living, and often they accept low-quality, low-paying jobs in the informal economy or accept informal employment arrangements. In contrast, in developed countries with advanced social protection systems and higher standards of living, workers can survive unemployment and spend time looking for the jobs they want. Therefore, comparing unemployment rates across countries with very different social, economic and institutional characteristics is lame and can lead to false messages.

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2. What are the limitations of using unemployment rate as a measure for developing economies like Vietnam?

The limitation of using the unemployment rate as a measure for developing economies like Vietnam is that it does not adequately represent the state of the labor market. These countries do not have enough decent, sustainable, high-productivity jobs, leading to underutilization of their labor force’s potential such as high rates of underemployment, low incomes and low wages. labor productivity is low. Thus, monitoring the labor market in developing countries like Vietnam needs to have indicators showing the quality of jobs. For example, these include the labor poverty rate, the vulnerable employment rate, the informal economy ratio, the agricultural sector to employment ratio, labor productivity and average wages. army.

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3. Why is the number of enterprises going bankrupt or closing higher than the number of newly established enterprises but unemployment has decreased?

In the second quarter of 2014, unemployment fell year-on-year because the increase in employment (436,000) was faster than the growth rate of the labor force (273,000). However, it should be noted that the number of employers decreased (down 208,000) while the number of paid workers increased (453,000). This partly shows the complexity of Vietnam’s economy and labor market. While some businesses are struggling, others are doing better and are able to hire more workers. However, some workers who lost their jobs could not find another paid job, so they returned to their families and worked as unpaid family workers. Therefore, improving employment services and labor market information will help workers find work in Vietnam during times of rapid economic change.

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4. What are the main problems facing the Vietnamese labor market?

The Vietnamese labor market has made important strides in the past few decades. This is reflected in higher wages, steady declines in agricultural jobs, and improved labor legislation. But despite such advances, nearly half of all workers Vietnamese workers are still working in the agricultural sector, which has low labor productivity and low income. About 3 out of every 5 workers work in vulnerable work (self-employed and unpaid family labor) – that is, work with particularly unsafe working conditions. In general, Vietnam’s labor productivity and wages are relatively low compared to other economies in the ASEAN region such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Therefore, Vietnam needs to continue making efforts to strengthen labor laws, improve law compliance, promote the industrial relations system and training and skills development institutions.

5. Opportunities and challenges for Vietnam’s labor market in the golden population era? What needs to be done to seize those opportunities?

The golden population structure in Vietnam represents a large proportion of the population of working age and a decrease in the dependency ratio. If Vietnam can create enough high-quality jobs to accommodate its expanding workforce, it can accelerate economic growth and address gaps in the labor market. Macroeconomic stability and stronger labor market institutions will help create a better business environment, attract investment and stimulate demand. In addition, improving the quality of education and training and the quality of employment service providers will help Vietnamese workers and job seekers meet business and industry needs and understand catch new and better job opportunities.

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According to Mr. Tite Habiyakare, expert on labor statistics, International Labor Organization for Asia – Pacific, the international concept of unemployment which is currently widely used in the world today comes from Resolution of the 13th International Conference of Labor Statistics (ICLS) 1982. This concept is used in most countries of the world, both in developed and developing economies. Unemployment in Vietnam is collected and processed by the General Statistics Office through periodic labor and employment surveys that fully comply with international standards. According to international standards, “unemployed people” include those who are unemployed. people of a certain age (e.g. 15 years of age or older) who during the survey period (usually within the previous week or the preceding 7 days) met all 3 conditions: “unemployed” (no job) working even for 1 hour, not working for a salary or self-employment), “ready to work” and “looking for work”. Thus, “unemployment” is one extreme on a spectrum. c The labor force includes both “underemployed” and “employed”. However, these international standards were changed by the ILCS 19th October 2013 with a new statistical approach. The new system aims to improve the measurement of different types of employment, such as own use production work, paid work, unpaid internships, and voluntary employment. (volunteer work). It also narrows down the concept of employment to better represent what is considered a “market-oriented job”. Under the new definition, employed persons are persons over the age of 15 who, within a certain period of time (usually 1 week or 7 days), are engaged in an activity that produces goods or supplies services for pay or profit. In other words, it is people who worked at a paid job or self-employed for profit for a period of at least 1 hour during the survey period. This will lead to a change. significant shifts in employment rates for many developing countries such as Vietnam, where the majority of workers are employed in subsistence agriculture with little or no connection to the economy market. When the new definition is adopted, labor market surveys will better measure unemployment in a market economy (rather than be confused with subsistence agriculture) and help indicates the underutilization of the full potential of the labor force in the economy. Vietnam was a strong supporter of the change in employment statistics at the 19th ICLS Conference last year.

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