Combating Unemployment in Pakistan

Sabur Ghayur


The labour absorptive capacity of the economy is not keeping
pace with labour supplies. An almost stagnant annual demand, estimated
on the basis of the last few labour force surveys as ranging between
700,000 to 800,000 annually, is now being left far behind by a labour
force whose stock is being added by over a million annually.l This
phenomenon is building up pressure on the domestic labour market.2 This
situation, however, does not seem to be fully explained by the arguments
of: (i) a net-return flow in overseas migration, (ii) saturation in the
public sector employment, (iii) increasing capital intensity in the
organised manufacturing sector, especially in its large-scale units, and
(iv) worsening landman ratio in Pakistan's agriculture. Most of them, in
fact, are the outcome of the absence of sufficient and meaningful
considerations on employment and manpower development in the whole
process of development planning and setting sectoral priorities.
Otherwise emergence of this negative situation, to a large extent, could
have been avoided. Fortunately, the problem of under-utilisation of
manpower, though continuously on the rise, has not assumed such
proportions as could not be addressed by appropriate policy
interventions. But a further delay in evolving concrete remedial
measures, certainly, can lead to the point of no return. This then would
be counter-productive and disruptive socio-economically. The author, in
this paper, attempts to indicate the existence of possibilities of
generating gainful employment opportunities in some sectors/sub-sectors
and regions of the economy as well as for certain target

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