Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



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

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.

Swadesh R. Bose

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