Job creation lacklustre: Bank


DESPITE strengthening growth momentum in the non-extractive economy in 2018, Bank of PNG data suggests that formal sector job creation remained lacklustre, says the World Bank.
According to the World Bank’s PNG Economic Update Jan 2019, overall, total formal sector employment contracted by 2.7 per cent in 2017.
This was underpinned by a 23.8 per cent decline in the construction sector and about a 5 per cent fall in each of the retail, wholesale, transport, and manufacturing sector.
The most-severe periods of FX shortages and public-sector expenditure compression translated into lower business activity and investment, and the freezing of some public-sector capital projects.
Country economist, Ilyas Sarsenov, pictured, says despite improving growth in the non-extractive sectors in 2018, BPNG data (based on a quarterly private sector business survey) indicate that formal sector employment continued to decline in 2018, down by over
3 per cent from a year earlier, and that retrenchments were broad-based across non-extractive sectors.
There was one “green shoot” in the non-extractive formal sector employment story, however, with the wholesale services sector adding jobs for the first time since 2014. Extractive-sector employment growth remained positive in the first half of 2018, but this had little impact on overall employment given that—despite their sizeable contribution to output and exports—the mineral and petroleum sectors are estimated to account for a minute fraction of national employment.