ISLAMABAD: The unemployment rate in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) for all age groups was estimated at 10.3 per cent for 2017-18, according to a government report released on Saturday.
The rate was 11.2pc when the last survey was conducted in 2014-15, reflecting a slight improvement in the job market of the region. However, it is still very high when compared to the average unemployment rate of 5.8pc in Pakistan in 2017-18.
No official estimate is available for AJK for the period between 2014-15 and 2017-18. The delay in carrying out a survey for mapping of unemployment and labour force participation rates in the region is being attributed to holding of a population census.
For AJK, the unemployment rate for the prime age group of 20-24 years was estimated at 25.9pc for 2017-18, as compared to 20.8pc for 2014-15.
Region’s rate compares very poorly with Pakistan’s
The report clearly shows the rates for early age groups — 10-14 years, 15-19 years and 20-24 years — registered a rising trend when compared to the previous estimates, while in the remaining age groups they went down both for males and females.
According to the report, a noticeable change was observed in unemployment status of females as the rate fell from 30.5pc to 22.6pc and for males it fell from 9.4pc to 8.4pc.
The unemployment rate in urban areas decreased from 10pc to 9.2pc while it fell from 11.4pc to 10.1pc in the rural areas.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics prepared the report after conducting a survey across AJK. In all, 3,719 households were surveyed both in rural and urban areas.
According to analysts, an increase in unemployment rate for the age group of 20-24 years is a matter of concern because of “heinous crimes” committed by people in that group.
The employment status mainly involves the categories of employees (51.9pc) and own account workers (42.0pc).
As for change during the period mentioned, the overall age specific labour force participation rates increased in the age groups of 15-19 years, 20-24 years, 25-29 years, 35-39 years, 45-49 years and 50-54 years. In the remaining age groups, the age specific participation rates (ASPRs) scaled down.
In females, the ASPRs trended up in all age categories except in age groups of 35-39 years and 40-44 years, while in males a decline was observed in the age group of 35-39 years and the last two categories.
About one in 17 workers (5.6pc) was reported to be a contributing family worker, while employers were only 0.5pc of the total employed workers. As for change between the two periods, employees and contributing family workers seemed to be trending up while a reverse trend was evident in employers and own account worker categories.
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2019