Growth and Utilization of Labor in Thailand

Pichai Charnsupharindr


Against the impressive performance of the Thai economy and the average annual population growth of over 2.5 per cent per annum the past three decades, this paper looks into whether the economy has provided better job opportunities to the people. The focus of the discussion is the changes in the level of labor absorption of each sector of production in the Thai economy, including the factors which determine these changes. Such aspects as population growth, labor force participation, labor absorption by region, and educated unemployment are analyzed.Generally, the analysis shows that in spite of three decades of sustained growth, unemployment and underemployment are still major problems. Based on the findings, the paper recommends that the government undertake measures to reduce the population growth to less than 2 per cent per annum in the 1980s, to lessen income disparity between regions through industrial development in the rural areas, to enhance agricultural productivity, to promote industries which have a high employment absorption rate of income, and restructure the educational system to make it more responsive to labor demands.

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