Unemployment rate drops to 8.7pc

The unemployment rate in 2018 decreased to 8.7 per cent from 9.3 per cent in 2017, according to the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE).

The department in a report of Summary Findings of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2018, stated that the distribution of employed persons by occupation showed that service and sales workers accounted for the highest share of 23.9 per cent (48,200 persons); workers in elementary occupation stood at 16.7 per cent (33,600 persons); and professionals at 16.5 per cent (33,200 persons).

Out of the total employment, about 19,800 persons (9.8 per cent) were employed in the informal sector.

The informal sector comprises unregistered private business enterprises that did not keep record of accounts, including households operating a small business in their own private houses. The average monthly income from all work was BND1,593 per employed person compared to BND1,478 in 2017.

Local workers earned a higher income of BND1,751, while the non-local workers earned BND 1,189 per month on average.

The total number of unemployed was around 19,200 persons. Out of the unemployed, there were 9,600 youth aged 15 to 24. JPKE conducted the LFS 2018 from October 15 to November 11, 2018.

The main objective of LFS 2018 was to collect the latest information on the size, structure, distribution and characteristics of the labour force, employment, unemployment and other economic characteristics of the population, which will be used to assist in the planning, research, policy-making and management concerning the labour force in the country.

The survey covered 3,200 selected households throughout the country using a systematic sampling method.

The data obtained from the selected households were extrapolated according to the sampling weights and then calibrated to represent the total population living in regular households in Brunei.

The results showed that there was a total of about 86,500 households and 337,900 persons aged 15 and over.

JPKE released the Report of Summary Findings of LFS 2018 based on the final data from the survey. Among the main findings included in the report are:

– In 2018, the labour force participation rate increased to 65.4 per cent from 62.7 per cent in 2017. The rate for male was considerably higher at 72.7 per cent than that for female at 57.3 per cent.

The total number of employed persons was 201,700, comprising 118,800 males (58.9 per cent) and 82,900 females (41.1 per cent). Out of the overall total number of employed persons, local workers accounted for the largest share of 72.0 per cent (145,200 persons), while 28.0 per cent (56,600 persons) were non-local workers.

The distribution of employed persons by their employment status is: Employees – comprising 92.4 per cent (186,500 persons); own-account workers at 4.3 per cent (8,800 persons); employers at 2.8 per cent (5,600 persons); and family workers at 0.5 per cent (900 persons).

A total of 75,500 persons (37.4 per cent) employed in government sector and 126,200 persons (62.6 per cent) in the private sector.

By type of economic activity, which consists of both government and private sectors, it showed that the public administration contributed the largest share at 22.9 per cent (46,300 persons). This is followed by wholesale and retail trade 12.7 per cent (25,600 persons) and construction 10.2 per cent (20,600 persons).