Highly educated Thais make up nearly half of unemployed workforce: report

A street busker singing for money on the side of a Bangkok street. Photo: nist6dh / Flickr
A street busker singing for money on the side of a Bangkok street. Photo: nist6dh / Flickr

More than 355,000 Thais were unemployed as of last month, a 29,000 year-on-year decrease, according to the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

Notable takeaways in the update on Thailand’s very low unemployment rate (under 1%) was that just under half of the unemployed – 170,000 – have never held a job. Also: The highly educated are some of the least employed. An additional 10,000 out-of-work Thais who’ve completed post-secondary educations joined the rolls, adding up to 147,000. They were followed by those who completed middle school (73,000) and primary school (60,000).

The numbers put Thailand’s notoriously low unemployment rate at 0.95%, close to the 0.9% reported in October. The figure is often attributed to widespread underemployment of everything from parking lot attendants to armies of municipal janitors. Still, it has been nudging upward in recent years – it reached 0.67% in 2018, which was a slight increase over 2017.

The recent report found the central provinces have the highest unemployment rates, followed by those in the north, south and northeast. 

The report also said the available workforce consists of 37.44 million people, 37 million of which are employed while 86,500 people were considered in between jobs. Agriculture was the top employment sector nationwide, followed by wholesaling, manufacturing and hotels. 


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