VIENTIANE, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Lao government has set a target of limiting the unemployment rate to only 2 percent in 2018 despite a high percentage of joblessness reported among university graduates.
Local daily Vientiane Times on Saturday quoted the Ministry of Planning and Investment's report as saying that the Lao government is paying greater attention to boosting the industrial and service sectors to generate employment opportunities for local people.
The move is aimed at encouraging more people to leave agriculture to work in industries and service companies.
There was no report on unemployment in Laos in 2017, Vientiane Times reported. A UN-funded survey in 2010 found that new college and university graduates represent about 6 percent of the country's workforce, but the jobless rate in this group is very high.
The majority of new graduates seek employment with the government as they believe this will provide them with a permanent job. But the Lao government accepts only a small number of new recruits each year.
In 2018, Lao government sectors will hire only 3,000 new employees, down from the 5,000 officials recruited last year.
According to the Lao government's report, 78.5 percent of the workforce was employed in agriculture and forestry in 2005, and the figure dropped to 70 percent in 2010 and to 68 percent in 2015. With so many people being employed in agriculture, industry is facing a labor shortage, with many companies deciding to hire workers from abroad.
A senior economist at the National Economic Research Institute of Laos, Leeber Leebouapao, said Laos has fewer skilled workers than required and more unskilled workers than the market needs.
"We produce a lot of workers each year but many of them do not meet the requirements of the private sector. The reality is that we still need a high number of workers as you see many companies advertising jobs," he said.