UNEMPLOYMENT is considered to be one of the prime social evils that is affecting our lives today.
Its economic impact is not as important as its social impact.
Most people in society today depend upon jobs to earn their living.
Therefore, any situation which negatively affects the jobs of people will affect the fabric of the entire society as a whole.
And this is one issue that should be high on the agenda of the Government to eradicate.
The Bank of Papua New Guinea’s (BPNG) employment index in the quarterly economic bulletin last September showed that the level of employment in the formal private sector declined by 5.5 percent in the September quarter of 2020, compared to an increase of 1.3 percent in the June quarter of 2020.
Excluding the mineral sector, the level of employment fell by 1.4 percent.
The level of employment dropped in all the sectors except the financial/business and other services and the wholesale sectors.
By region, the level of employment fell in the Highlands, Momase (excluding Morobe) and Southern excluding National Capital District (NCD), while it increased in Morobe.
The level of employment remained unchanged in the Islands region.
Over the year to September 2020, the total level of employment fell by 7 per cent, compared to an increase of 2.1 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019.
Excluding the mineral sector, the level of employment fell by 2.7 per cent over the year to September 2020, compared to a decline of 0.4 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019.
Economic indicators available to BPNG indicate that domestic economic activity contracted significantly and remained depressed over the year to the September quarter of 2020, mainly reflecting the adverse impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
In PNG, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, unemployed people are those who report that they are without work, that they are available for work and that they have taken active steps to find work over a period of time.
For PNG, the Government can only help eradicate this epidemic through promoting investment in the private sector.
Jobs are created when there is investment in the country.
However, higher economic growth alone will not solve the jobs problem.
Jobs can be created when growth comes from the transition of labour from informal sectors such as agriculture to the more formal manufacturing and service sectors.
On the other hand, growth can come about without any substantial job-creation in the formal sectors of the economy, but through improvements in productivity.
They say opening up to genuine competition and private investment in various fields would increase opportunities, reliability and cut some costs.
Making PNG more competitive and attractive for investors (including smallholders) requires improving roads and other infrastructure and utilities, affordable telecommunication access, ports and shipping services, seriously addressing crime, corruption and excessive red-tape and public sector inefficiency and boosting literacy, numeracy and technical, vocational and professional training.
The Government should address issues on law and order, social issues and make policies attractive in order to lure investors.
A more conservative point suggest that unemployment is like a necessary by-product of the modern economic system.
And it should be managed within its current levels.
Failure to manage unemployment creates problems.