The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that some 1.6 million jobs were lost in Myanmar in 2021 with the military takeover compounding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the population impacted by the weakened labour market, women workers were hit most.
Working hours are estimated to have decreased 18 per cent in 2021 relative to 2020, equivalent to the working time of at least 3.1 million full-time workers. These working-hour losses were driven by employment losses as well as increased underemployment. Key sectors have suffered considerable impacts.
Rural farmers were hard hit by armed conflict, violence and insecurity. Construction, garments, and tourism and hospitality were also among the hardest hit industries in 2021, with year-on-year employment losses reaching an estimated 31 per cent, 27 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
The losses in both working hours and employment were disproportionately greater for women than men overall. Women also accounted for an overwhelming majority of job losses in garments as well as tourism and hospitality.
“The military takeover and COVID-19 pandemic have put millions of workers in Myanmar in a grim situation. We are witnessing a reversal of years of progress in the labour market. Should this continue, it can only lead to increased poverty and insecurity across the country,” said Mr. Donglin Li, ILO Myanmar Liaison Officer/Representative.
Following an expected 18 per cent contraction of the economy in the year ended September 2021, the World Bank estimated Myanmar economy to have a growth of 1 per cent in the year to September 2022.
While reflecting recent signs of stabilization in some areas, the projection remains consistent with a critically weak economy, around 30 per cent smaller than it might have been in the absence of COVID-19 and the February 2021 coup.
Myanmar Business Today (MBT) is Myanmar’s largest circulating business publication. It is Myanmar's first and the only bilingual (English-Myanmar) business newspaper, and is distributed in Myanmar and Thailand.
MBT became one of the first foreign-invested media houses Myanmar’s reform-era when Thailand’s established publishing company TPN Media ventured into the Southeast Asian nation in 2012 to start the frontier economy’s pioneering business publication. TPN Media's is registered in Myanmar under the name UT Business Media Co.,Ltd. for publishing, marketing, advertising, and distribution services.