The Ministry of Finance and the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training, Policy and Employment (SEPFOPE) jointly launched the second Timor-Leste Labor Force Survey (LFS). The survey was conducted jointly by the Directorate General of Statistics and SEPFOPE and supported by the Australian Government and the Internasional Labor Organization (ILO).
The ceremony, which took place on the 23 April 2015, was attended by the Vice Minister of Finance, Mr. Helder Lopes, the Secretary of State of SEPFOPE, Mr. Elidio Ximenes da Costa, the ILO Head of Mission, Mr. Roberto Pes and the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Mr. Peter Doyle.
The LSF, which took place over the course of two years between 2013 and 2014, did a survey over a sample of 780 households throughout the territory. The primary objective of LFS 2013 was to provide current data on the employment and unemployment situation at national and sub-national level.
The LSF covers important information on the labor force related issues such employment, unemployment, seasonal employment, formal no non-forma employment. The information, remarked Mr. Antonio Freitas, Director General of Statistic, “will be used by the Government to make informed decisions”.
Mr. Helder Lopes, the Vice Minister of Finance, in his brief remark, noted that the LSF is the manifestation of the Government’s commitment towards “evidence-based policy making”. The Government, he argued, will use the evidence provided to design policies and programs that are directed towards resolving the unemployment in the country.
The key finding of the survey is that the unemployment rate was 11% in 2013, of which 22% were young people age between 15-24. The 23,400 people were classified as unemployed, as during the survey reference period, they had no job but were available and actively looking for work. The service sector employed nearly half of the labor force, followed by agriculture, while industry sector absorbed only 13%. Labor force participation increased, albeit not much compared to the previous LFS.
A significant change in the methodology introduced was the use of the new international standards concerning the statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization adopted by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (Geneva, October 2013). The new convention defined those employed are defined as those working for pay or profit. Job creation, according to the Vice Minister, is the challenge the Government will face now and coming years. The next step after the launching, he said, is “to set and implement policies and programs that address the very concern of the people”.