Economics: How Credible are Thai Labor Statistics?

By Pooky, this blog economist journalist

A Track Record of Lies:

For many years now and with successive governments, foreign wire service journalist and also Thai journalist have question Thailand’s economic data.

Many reasoned that in a country such as Thailand, where politics weeds its way into everything, economic data the government gives, many times seem to go against reason.

“Hey they now say it is something else,” said a foreign wire service journalist at a recent NESDB press conference on Thailand’s economic condition, after being press and cornered that the numbers NESDB gave did not match up or made any sense.

Over 30,000 Factory shortages:

Currently, the Thai government, particularly the labor ministray and the industry ministry have been giving out data that thousands and thousands of skill laborers are needed because the economy has recovered.

“Ayuthaya’s based electronics industry is in need of about 20,000 workers,” said the Thai industry minister today.

In fact the latest economic data, particularly factory utilization rates, have dipped again, as the many economist have said, that the up-tick in production was the result of re-stocking of depleted stock as foreign buyers simply held little or no stock at all as a result of the economic crisis. That re-stocking is not related to new and sustainable demand. Imports, of parts, in Thailand’s situation that is an indication of future demand, have tanked some 20% in recent months.

Factory Workers Have Always Been in Shortage:

And while many factories did let go of workers, many other simply held on-as in Thailand, skilled labor have always been in shortage, no matter what the economic condition is.

Ans thus for those above mentioned ministries to say that upward of 60,000 skill workers are needed, appear to be “Re-Hashing” of old shortages to suit the current government need to state its success in helping the economy recover.

Business Loan Contracts:

The fact is, as of today, a massive business loan contraction, continues to occur in Thailand and many SMEs and grassroots level businesses are letting go of workers. Exports wise, the negative numbers continues.

All the government is able to say, as to the labor shortage situation, is that the governments unemployment support is keeping labor from not re-entering the labor force. This again, is an attempt to state its success in helping workers.

How Long Will the Same Rationale be Used:

That rationale have been used for about three months now, ever since the government began propagating the labor shortage situation to re-state its success.

By now, if that rationale is credible, workers should now be re-entering the factories. Over more, the government now says that those entering the factories, are new workers with little factory working experience, and have to be re-trained. This again, indicates that a new pool of labor is being drawn for positions, that industires, never could fill in any economic condition.

Fundamental Problem Not Addressed:

The basic fundamental question to the labor shortage situation remains not addressed. And that is as Thailand’s economy advanced, more and more young people are turning away from factory work. The reason is because of low pay, long hours and hard and boring work.

Burmese and Cambodia Labor Used:

In fact, millions of Burmese and Cambodians labor are working in Thailand. And the government may have made the situation worse. In an attempt to help those Thai laid off, the government instigated a re-training program that taught over 40,000 Thais independent business skills. Many have simply, took the opportunity to leave the factory pool and started their own businesses.

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