ISLAMABAD: Unemployment rate in the country for the prime age group of 20-24 years was estimated at 11 per cent during 2014-15, said a government report released on Monday.

The age-specific joblessness in this category was 9.2pc in 2013-14. The average unemployment rate was 5.9pc against 6pc of the previous year.

Unemployment status of men witnessed no major change, but it surged for women by 9pc from 8.7pc in 2013-14.

The age-specific joblessness was even higher in age group of 20-34, the report said, adding that the average youth employment ratio was over 10pc compared to the overall projected unemployment rate of 6pc.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has prepared the report after conducting a survey across the country, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In all, 42,292 households were surveyed in rural and urban areas.

A former economic adviser to the government, Dr Ashfaque H. Khan, told Dawn that by and large Pakistan continued the ‘stabilisation first’, or austerity programme, under the IMF dictates.

“Such a prolonged period of austerity programme has severely constrained the country’s growth potential and has caused serious socio-economic crisis,” he said.

As a result of the government’s policies, Dr Khan said, an increase in unemployment of prime age population (20-24 years) was a matter of concern because of “heinous crimes” committed by people in this age group.

He advised the government to adopt policies that promote growth, instead of austerity.

According to the report, comparative age-specific unemployment rates of twenties (20-29) and early thirties (30-34) are on the rise while, that of early teens (10-14) and later thirties and above (35 +) has declined during 2014-15.

Gender-specific rates make a mixed pattern of change down the age groupings, though rates for females are more in sync with the overall rates as compared to those of males. Joblessness among females is on the higher side for the early 20s to early 30s (20-34), ranging between 10pc and 16.4pc.

The report said that unemployment was estimated at 8pc in urban areas and 5pc in rural areas.

The volume of unemployed people went up by 400,000 to 3.62m from 3.58m in 2013-14. The volume of unemployed declined in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, while it rose in Sindh and Balochistan.

The labour force participation rate among age groups of 15-19, 20-24, 25-29 and 30-34 years was estimated at 35.5, 52.6, 58.6, and 60.1pc respectively.

The national labour force participation rate was 45.2pc.

The volume of the employed rose by 900,000 people to 57.42m in 2014-15 from 56.52m. The volume of labour force increased in Punjab (140,000), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (180,000), Sindh (250,000) and Balochistan (340,000).

Employees constitute the largest group (38.7pc), followed by self-employed workers (36.1pc), contributing family workers (23.8pc) and employers (1.4pc).

More than half of the total number of female workers toil as contributing family workers (54.5pc), while nearly seven-eighth of males are self-employed workers (40.9pc), and employees (42.9pc).

An increase was witnessed in the share of self-employed workers and employers, while contributing family workers and employers showed a decrease, according to the survey.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2016