Labour Force and Employment in Pakistan, 1961-86: A Preliminary Analysis

Swadesh R. Bose


As the need for a long-run perspective in development planning
becomes recognized in Pakistan, the long-term problems of the economy
are bound to become policy issues of great importance. The future
employment of a rapidly increasing labour force is one such problem,
although it cannot, of course, be separated from the problems of growth
of investment and output. Although planning goals have, in the past,
been set essentially in terms of growth of national and per-capita
income, planners cannot ignore the problem of employment. Large numbers
of the existing labour force are now either unemployed or
underemployed1, and to these are added the new entrants to the labour
force as population increases. At the same time, a large shift in the
occupational pattern of the labour force (but not necessarily a net
transfer) away from the agricultural sector into the nonagricultural
sector is necessary for the growth of the economy and per-capita income.
It is for these reasons that a properly conceived employment objective
should be incorporated in the planning process, especially in a long-run
perspective plan. The purpose of this paper is to project for Pakistan
the future growth of population and labour force in order to examine the
magnitude and complexity of the employment problem which Pakistan faces.
The projections cover a period of 25 years from January 1961 to January
1986. The terminal date is so chosen that it roughly coincides with that
of the proposed perspective plan (July 1965-June 1985) which will
reportedly aim at tripling per-capita income from the level of 1961,
achieving equality in per-capita incomes of East and West Pakistan, and
reaching a stage of full employment by 19852.

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