Thailand’s employment growth weakest in 5 quarters in Q3 as economy slows

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s employment in the third quarter rose 1.3% from a year earlier, the state planning agency said on Monday, the slowest rate in five quarters amid a sluggish economy and weak demand for its exports.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew just 1.5% in the July-September period, the slowest pace this year, due to declining exports and government spending.

The third quarter job growth was mainly in the tourism sector and was less than the 1.7% increase in the previous quarter, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said in a statement.

The exports-oriented manufacturing production saw a decrease in employment in the third quarter, it said.

Thailand’s jobless rate was at 0.99% in the July-September period versus 1.06% in April-June, it said.

Thailand’s definition of unemployment is narrow, however, and counts as jobless those who do not work a single hour in a surveyed week. Analysts say the figures do not catch Thailand’s significant unofficial economy.

In the third quarter of 2023, Thailand had a workforce of 40.1 million, up from 39.7 million in the previous quarter, the planning agency said.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)