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Adjustment of the Vietnamese Labour Market in Time of Economic fluctuations and Structural Changes

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In this paper, we consider how labour market adjusts to economic fluctuations, considering structural transformation at work as well as short term changes. We utilise series calculated from population censuses and data published in the statistical yearbooks of GSO for long term series, and Labour Force
Surveys from 2007 to 2012 for short term data. The paper highlights the deep transformation of the labour market in the last decades. The labour force has doubled in 25 years and the share of agriculture has declined below 50%. Labour supply absorption was thus one of the main challenges for the Vietnamese economy. The household sector has been the main job provider over the years, in agriculture as well as in non-farm activities. The labour market has adjusted to the recent economic slowdown through different channels. If unemployment does not rise, some people withdraw from the labour force and the number of non-active people has grown. The quantity of labour is also affected by
a significant reduction of hours worked. While the non-farm sector generates more jobs for skilled workers, there is a shift of unskilled labour towards agriculture. Due to demographic factors, labour supply absorption and creation of new jobs become a less acute problem. As Vietnam benefits of the demographic dividend, the situation on the labour market should be favourable during the present decade to implement structural policies.

Image: ©IRD - Chaplot, Vincent