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Unemployment bites

Tariq Khalique

More often, a job loss is unexpected and comes as a shock, rattling one’s nerves, but sometimes, it doesn’t surprise because of the imminent signs. Nowadays, workers in Pakistan are experiencing the same nerve shattering situation after their services were terminated because of the ostensible financial problems being faced by their employers.

The employers blame the present government for this mess, saying the recent policies are financially denting them, and they are unable to continue with the same spirit as in the past. A contraction in economic growth leads to rise in joblessness.





During 80s, the economic growth was recorded at 6.5 percent, and of the total 11.6 million labour force, 11.2 million were employed. The unemployment rate was mere 1.4 percent; in 90s, the economic growth decelerated to 4.6 percent, and despite approximately three times increase in labour force to 35.1 million, 33.1 million were employed.

The next decade of 2000 saw the economic growth marginally going up to 4.7 percent with 45.5 million workforce, while the unemployment rate significantly rose to 6.8 percent.

Since 2010, the country witnessed increase in economic growth rate, reaching 5.4 percent in 2016/17. For the current financial year, it is projected to rise to 5.8 percent.

However, despite higher economic growth rate, a proportionate decline in unemployment was not seen during this period, rather it continuously went up with the passage of time.

This data from the Economic Survey of Pakistan clearly shows that the country is facing a daunting task of jobless growth. Unemployment deprives not only a sizeable number of the population of its livelihood, but also put a break on development.

Unemployment is becoming a critical issue because a job-centered development strategy appears nowhere in sight. For the common man joblessness is not the only problem, as higher economic growth pushes up inflation and raises the cost of living, which becomes more problematic since most people can’t make a comfortable living if their incomes do not rise in proportion.

These circumstances fuel criminal activities, delayed marriages among the poor segment of the society, and search for employment opportunities abroad.





On a number of occasions before the general elections, Imran Khan had said that the country’s biggest issue is unemployment, which is forcing youths to go abroad for livelihood by leaving behind their homes and loved ones, and after coming into power the PTI government will create 10 million jobs, but, regrettably, the current situation is eating away a good number of jobs, let alone creation of new ones.

Unable to provide more jobs, the PTI government doesn’t recognise the problem and bent upon taking inconsiderate decisions, which are significantly increasing the number of poor in the country.

If a considerably good economic growth rate does not produce enough jobs, it is the responsibility of the people at the helm of affairs to revisit their economic policies and give some respite to the already financially burdened masses.

“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions ‑ poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed ‑ which are at the root of most punished crimes. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished. It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.” (Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright, and a socialist thinker)

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