The labour force of a country includes the people who are either employed or unemployed, i.e. who don’t have a job but are actively looking for one. The labour force does not include people who are not looking for work, children, and the retired. Though unemployment is a common issue that affects many countries, especially, the least developed nations and causes widespread poverty, social unrest and one of the major reasons for insurgency in some countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan comes in the list of top 18 countries with high unemployment where the unemployment rate is estimated around 8.5%. This is the highest rate of unemployment in the last ten years.
An extremely worrying feature of the current unemployment situation is that the rate among literate workers is more than twice that among illiterate workers. In fact, the highest rate of unemployment, three times above the national average, is observed in the case of highly educated workers with either a graduate or a post-graduate degree. Similarly, unemployment rate among female and young workers is also relatively high. There is little difference in the unemployment rate between urban and rural areas of the country. Slow and volatile GDP, low rate of investment, lack of government support to private sector, high population growth rate, repatriation of millions of migrants, lack of security, limited access to education and poor quality of education are some of factors that have contributed to high unemployment rate in country.
In fact, there is a strong co-relation between large numbers of unemployed cohorts and political violence. When young people – particularly young men – are uprooted, jobless, intolerant, alienated and have few opportunities for positive engagement, they represent a ready pool of recruits for groups seeking to mobilize violence such as the Taliban. Widespread youth unemployment carries effects beyond the individuals who cannot find jobs. The consequences can threaten a nation’s wider economy and stability.