The overall unemployment rate in Punjab has reached 6.9 percent with the highest rate of unemployment by age group found amongst the youth (aged 15-29) at 10.9% and the female youth with Master’s degree make up over 23% of all unemployed female youth.
According to research conducted by Gallup Pakistan and PRIDE (Policy Research, Innovation, Development & Education), using data from the Labour Force Survey-2020-21, among all the divisions of Punjab, Rawalpindi has the highest youth unemployment rate is a little more than 17%.
“With the unemployment rate of females being substantially higher than males (8.32% vs. 6.06%) and that of urban residents being relatively higher than the rate of their rural counterparts (7.94% vs 6.11%).
The analysis of division-wise youth unemployment rate varies from as low as 4.45% for Bahawalpur division to as high as 17.78% for Rawalpindi division,” reads the report.
The distribution of unemployed youth by level of education indicates that the youth having education level of ‘Matric but below Intermediate’, make up the highest proportion of the unemployed youth at 20.01% while the youth having ‘less than one year of education’ comprises the lowest share of unemployed youth at 0.39%. What’s surprising is that 23.52% of unemployed female youth in Punjab have a Master’s level degree. This share is over seven times higher than the corresponding share of the unemployed male youth (around 3% of unemployed males have a Master’s degree).
The research analysis shows that the Lahore division has the highest population (20.7m) in the whole province whereas the Sahiwal division has the lowest population (7.9m). Gujranwala division has the highest rural population of 10.9m and the Lahore division has the highest urban population of 14.4m in Punjab.
The analysis shows that in Punjab alone, there are 31m youngsters aged 18-29 and the youth population of Punjab alone is equivalent to the entire population size of Canada.
Youth unemployment refers to the number of youth (15-29 years old) population that is economically active but currently without work and searching for employment. This measure does not include the people such as full-time students or those who are not looking for work, i.e., those considered economically inactive individuals. This indicator serves as a measure of potential youth labour market entrants that remain under-utilized.
“The study’s most alarming finding is that a higher share of educated youth are unemployed compared to their lesser educated counterparts. Education, if seen to be not delivering dividends, would lead to people dropping off from the education stream and the vast pool of educated urban youth could also cause social issues (if not already causing ones),” Bilal Gilani, executive director at Gallup Pakistan, said.
Dr Lubna Shahnaz, the chief executive officer at PRIDE, said: ‘Labour force statistics usually available at national or provincial level do not adequately capture the labour market dynamics across different regions even within a particular province. More disaggregated statistics at divisional level would enable a more in-depth examination of the labour market situation and facilitate in the development of relevant policies and programs at a grass roots level”.
The current series of reports would be looking at the Labour Force Survey 2020-21, which is a large-scale survey, covering close to 100,000 households, conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).