THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Combating Unemployment in Pakistan
The labour absorptive capacity of the economy is not keepingpace with labour supplies. An almost stagnant annual demand, estimatedon the basis of the last few labour force surveys as ranging between700,000 to 800,000 annually, is now being left far behind by a labourforce whose stock is being added by over a million annually.l Thisphenomenon is building up pressure on the domestic labour market.2 Thissituation, however, does not seem to be fully explained by the argumentsof: (i) a net-return flow in overseas migration, (ii) saturation in thepublic sector employment, (iii) increasing capital intensity in theorganised manufacturing sector, especially in its large-scale units, and(iv) worsening landman ratio in Pakistan’s agriculture. Most of them, infact, are the outcome of the absence of sufficient and meaningfulconsiderations on employment and manpower development in the wholeprocess of development planning and setting sectoral priorities.Otherwise emergence of this negative situation, to a large extent, couldhave been avoided. Fortunately, the problem of under-utilisation ofmanpower, though continuously on the rise, has not assumed suchproportions as could not be addressed by appropriate policyinterventions. But a further delay in evolving concrete remedialmeasures, certainly, can lead to the point of no return. This then wouldbe counter-productive and disruptive socio-economically. The author, inthis paper, attempts to indicate the existence of possibilities ofgenerating gainful employment opportunities in some sectors/sub-sectorsand regions of the economy as well as for certain targetgroups.