Less than half the target of creating 39 lakh jobs was achieved in the first two years of the government's Seventh Five Year Plan (SFYP), though the country registered robust economic growth during the period.
Only 17.8 lakh jobs were created against the target during the fiscal year 2016 and 2017, according to a draft report on the mid-term review of the SFYP.
The seventh plan aims to create jobs for the large pool of underemployed and new labour force entrants by increasing the share of employment in the manufacturing sector to 20 percent at the end of SFYP.
The report said the manufacturing sector grew by 10.22 percent in the FY17.
Yet, the number of jobs fell to 88 lakh from 95 lakh in 2013.
“While this raises the question whether the manufacturing sector is going through the phase of jobless growth, until now it has remained unresolved. More surveys and analyses will be needed to better appreciate the trends in employment and output growth in the sector,” the report said.
The “a phase of jobless growth” comes at a time when the economy recorded more than seven percent annual growth, which was spurred mainly by the manufacturing sector.
The sector's share in total employment remained stagnant at 14.4 percent in the first two years of the plan, the report showed.
Shamsul Alam, member of the General Economic Division of the Bangladesh Planning Commission, said although there had been strides in many areas, including GDP growth, the country was not generating enough employment.
He was presenting the highlights of the draft report of the SFYP (FY2016-FY2020) at a consultative meeting at the Planning Commission yesterday.
Shamsul said one percent growth generates 2.5 lakh jobs. “It appears that new jobs have not been created because of the use of modern machinery and technology.”
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue, said adoption of labour displacing technology and increased labour productivity had affected creation of new jobs.
Now six persons are needed for the same task which required 10 in the past, he said and suggested diversification of economy and export basket.
The government targeted to generate a total of 1.29 crore employment in the SFY beginning from FY2016 to FY2020. Of them, it aimed at generating 1.09 crore jobs in the domestic market.
Despite low job creation in the domestic market, more employment opportunities were created in the overseas market.
The target for the number of migrant workers surpassed in the last two fiscal years, said the report.
Some 16 lakh migrant workers left the country in the first two years of the planned period against the target of sending eight lakh workers abroad.
The draft report said 80 percent of the target of sending 20 lakh migrant workers had been achieved in the first two years of the SFYP.
Planning Minister MA Mannan was present at the meeting, which was also attended by government officials.