Sri Lanka unemployment up amid higher female participation

Dec 09, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate had risen to 4.5 percent in the first half of 2013 from 3.9 percent a year earlier, reversing several years of labour market tightening official data showed. The total number of unemployed had risen to 401,000 for the first half of 2013 from 324,000 a year earlier, with female unemployment rising to 7.0 percent from 5.9 percent a year earlier a central bank report said, quoting a statistics office survey.

The male unemployment ratio had risen slightly to 3.2 percent from 3.0 percent.

The higher unemployment rate came with an increase of the labour force participation rate to 54.2 percent in the first half from 51.5 percent a year earlier due to an increase in the female labour force participating rate to 35.9 percent from 31.4 percent.

“A shifting of population from the economically inactive category to the economically active category, due to the entrance of rural sector females and full time students to the labour force, contributed to this increase,” the Central Bank said.

“This move could be considered a welcome development in the labour market, as it would help keep wage pressures contained while meeting the increasing demand for labo