Press Release

Myanmar labour market remains fragile in challenging conditions

27 July 2023

Labour market metrics including employment levels, job quality and productivity continue to decline with women workers particularly hard hit.

Caption: A worker in a Yangon fruit market.
Photo: © Shutterstock

The Myanmar labour market continues to suffer from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the 2021 military takeover and subsequent socio-economic turmoil, according to a new labour market update issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO Brief finds that all metrics point to challenging labour market conditions in the country.

A recent recovery in employment numbers in some sectors has failed to keep pace with population growth. As a result, a significant drop is seen in the employment-to-population ratio, which, at 54.5 per cent in 2022, was 8.2 percentage points below the 2017 level.

The quality of jobs has declined with more workers pushed into the informal sector. Labour productivity has also fallen with estimates showing an 8 per cent drop in 2021 and a further 2 per cent loss in the first half of 2022.

The disproportionate impact on women is also revealed, with the employment-to-population ratio of women in Myanmar declining by twice as much as that of men.

Donglin Li, Liaison Officer, ILO Myanmar, said, “Employment conditions in Myanmar remain fragile and challenging with many workers facing a very uncertain future. The restoration of democracy remains critical to the future prospects of Myanmar and its people and is a necessary pre-condition of social justice and decent work.”

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Steve Needham

Senior Communications Officer ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

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