Ministry withholds latest Labour Force Survey Report 

Ministry withholds latest Labour Force Survey Report 

SAM Staff,

Although the Bhutanese labour and human resources ministry has completed the labour force survey for 2016 -2017, the ministry has not generated the report yet because of flaws that were pointed out after the survey.

Labour ministry officials claim that they need to review the findings of the 14th labour force survey report (LFSR).

The Department of Employment and Human Resources’ chief of employment services division, Ugyen Tenzin, said the technical team found lots of technical issues with the sampling, survey instruments, methodologies, and definition of employment.

He said they found the errors during a review. “When we tried to generate the result, we couldn’t retrieve it because of the error.”

While questioning the independence in reporting the scenario of employment of labour force surveys, the Royal Audit Authority did point out that the survey was done scientifically. The authority recommended the survey be conducted more than once to capture the actual labour market information.

Ugyen Tenzin said the ministry has decided that the 2016-2017 unemployment figure would be based on the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan (PHCB) 2017 since it’s a national census that has the exact questions on unemployment. “The PHCB survey is considered as 99 percent accurate.”

The LFSR is published every year and gives the current employment situation of the country apart from other indicators. The 13th nationwide LFSR published in 2015, found the overall unemployment rate at 2.5 percent. Youth unemployment rate was 10.7 percent and female unemployment rate was 12.7 percent. Kuensel learnt that the high youth unemployment figure was one of the flaws in the recent survey.

Ugyen Tenzin said they are also waiting for the Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) 2017 and the PHCB 2017 reports, which would also reflect the status of unemployment situation in the country.

Ugyen Tenzin also said that it was neither the ministry nor any external pressure that asked them to not publish the report. “It was entirely based on the views and flaws pointed out by the technical team,” he said. The issues pointed out in the survey have been shared with the Cabinet.

The technical team comprises of members from education, labour and health ministries and the National Statistic Bureau. A team from the Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness also reviewed the survey after the technical team pointed out the same drawbacks.