Unemployment is when individuals above a specified age are not self-employed or in paid employment. The ILO (International Labor Organization) claimed that over 5% of the world’s total labor force was jobless in 2018. The unemployment rate refers to the number of jobless individuals as a percentage of the region’s workforce. Economists use unemployment to determine the health of a given economy. A low unemployment rate means a region’s economy is maximizing outputs while raising the living standards and driving wage growth. Some of the countries with the lowest unemployment rate in the world include:
10. Qatar - 0.14%
Other than being the most advanced Arab nation for human-development, Qatar had the lowest unemployment rate on the planet in 2019. The unemployment rate in Qatar has been below 0.15% since 2016. Qatar has the world’s highest per-capita income and is considered by the United Nations to be a nation of very high human development. Qatar has been a high-income economy since 1987. Its economy is backed by one of the biggest oil reserves and natural gas reserves on the planet. The discovery of oil in 1940 helped transform the country’s economy and made it possible for the government to invest in several industries that are still thriving. The gas and oil industry has helped the government create new employment hubs. As Qatar’s economy diversifies, new employment opportunities are created in all sectors.
9. Niger - 0.26%
Niger is a developing nation that was ranked one hundred and eighty-ninth in the UN’s HDI (Human Development Index) in 2018. Niger’s economy supported by livestock, subsistent farming, and their largest uranium deposits. Niger’s economy has been affected by desertification, drought circles, and a decrease in the demand for uranium. The country’s unemployment grew from 1.47% in 2000 to 3.1% in 2005. However, the country qualified for enhanced-debt relief in 2000 from the IMF. The relief reduced the nation’s debt servicing obligations, therefore, freeing more funds to spend on several programs that could help eradicate poverty and invest in rural infrastructures. Niger received 100% debt relief in 2005, which made it possible for the government to invest in more infrastructures and reduce the unemployment rate. Niger’s unemployment rate has been reducing since 2005 (3.1%) to 2019 (0.26%).
8. Lao PDR - 0.57%
Other than being the only landlocked state in Southeastern Asia, Laos had the third-lowest unemployment rate in the world. The unemployment rate of Laos from 1991 to 2019 has averaged at 1.35% with an all-time low of 0.57% in 2019 and a record high of 2.6% (1995). The country’s economy depends on trade and investments from its neighbors China, Vietnam, and Thailand. The country’s unemployment rate has been reducing from 2009 when it was 0.8%. The decline is a result of investments from its neighbors and also lifting the trade ban by the United States. President Obama’s administration lifted the ban, thus making it possible for Laotian firms to receive finance from the American Export-Import Bank.
7. Thailand - 0.69%
Other than being the world’s twenty-second most populous state, Thailand had the fourth lowest unemployment rate on the planet in 2019. Thailand has the second-highest economy in Southeastern Asia, and it is considered to be an emerging economy. Thailand is a newly industrialized state with a GDP of $1.236 trillion in 2017. Some of the factors contributing to Thailand’s low unemployment rate include the informal sector, which has employed over 64% of the labor force, and low birth rate, among others. Thailand has no unemployment insurance; therefore, there is no drive for anyone to remain jobless for a very long time. Anyone who loses his/her job enters the informal sector.
6. Bahrain - 0.97%
Other than being the third smallest Asian nation, Bahrain has one of the lowest unemployment rates on the planet. Bahrain was the first state to develop a post-oil economy in the region. Even though Bahrain’s oil has virtually dried up, the country still depends on its tourism and international banking sectors. Bahrain invested a lot for the last few decades in the tourism and banking sectors. Currently, most of the biggest financial companies on earth have branches in Bahrain, which is referred to as the business capital of the Persian Gulf.
5. Rwanda - 0.99%
Other than being one of the smallest African Nations, Rwanda had the second-lowest unemployment rate in Africa in 2019. Rwanda’s economy was heavily affected by the genocide of 1994; however, since then, its economy has improved. The per-capita GDP of Rwanda has increased from $416 (1994) to $2,090 in 2017. The 1994 genocide made it impossible for the country to receive foreign investment, however after President Kagame took over in 2000, the country’s economy has improved, and corruption level has dropped. The political stability enjoyed in the country has made it possible for the informal sector to grow, which has a considerable percentage of the labor force.
4. Tonga - 1.02%
Tonga is an archipelago and Polynesian sovereign nation that is made up of over 169 islands, of which only 36 islands are inhabited. Tonga is a constitutional monarchy that was a British protectorate state in the past. The economy of Tonga is characterized by a huge non-monetary industry that is dependent on the remittances of its population working abroad, mainly in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Tonga has a low unemployment rate since over 50% of its population lives and works abroad.
3. Cambodia - 1.02%
Even though Cambodia is considered to be one of the least developed nations on the planet by the United Nations, Cambodia has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates. The country’s economy has been growing at an average of 7.6% in the last decade. Its per-capita income was $1,309 in nominal per-capita and $4,022 in PPP. According to the ILO, Cambodia’s unemployment rate is low since over 80% of the population work in the informal sector.
2. Nepal - 1.25%
Other than having one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates, Nepal had the thirty-seventh biggest labor force on the planet in 2017. The country’s unemployment rate decreased from 1.26% (2018) to 1.25% (2019). Even though Nepal has many huge industries, over 70% of the population is involved in the informal sector.
1. Afghanistan - 1.52%
Although it has high levels of corruption, child malnutrition, poverty, and terrorism, Afghanistan has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates. Agriculture is the leading sector in the country, with opium accounts for over 16% of the country’s economy. Afghanistan’s economy was affected by political unrest for a very long time, but currently, it is improving. The main factor that contributed to the economic growth and reduction of the unemployment rate is the return of over 5 million expatriates. The expatriates brought wealth-creating skills with them and funds to open up businesses in the country. Currently, a considerable percentage of the locals are involved in the construction industry. Several factories and companies that are operating in Afghanistan have helped create new jobs.