11 July 2024

Thailand’s economic think-tank, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), predicts that the number of unemployed in the kingdom will reach one million by the end of this year, if the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncontrollable.

Associate Professor Yongyuth Chalamwong, director of labour development research in the TDRI’s human resources and social development department, told Thai PBS today (Tuesday) that the partial lockdown measures, imposed by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration since late July, has had an extensive impact on businesses and the labour market.

He warned that, if the situation persists until year end, about a million people will have lost their jobs, accounting for 2.5-3% of people of working age.

To cushion the impacts on affected people, he suggests that the government provide cash subsidies of at least 100 baht a day, until the pandemic situation improves.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry (EconThai) Tanit Sorat said that cash support, amounting to between 2,500-5,000 baht, funded by the taxpayer for employees and freelancers affected by the lockdown measures in the 29 COVID-19 “Dark Red” provinces for a month, are of little help.

Industries most affected include tourism and travel, some special services, industrial products and retailing.

He suggested long-term measures to help the unemployed and, at the same time, the introduction of short-term employment schemes, to help about 500,000 university students who are due to graduate this year.

According to the “JobsDB” employment service website, there were about 80 applicants for each vacancy in the first half of this year, which is an indication that more people are looking for fewer jobs, with a forecast that job opportunities are expected to reduce by 50% in the second half of the year.