Vietnam’s General Office of Statistics has released its Q3 2023 labour market and employment update. The update reports on Vietnam’s human resources at the end of September this year.
According to the report, Vietnam’s low-cost workforce has been a key selling point for foreign manufacturers looking to enter the market. However, that workforce is not always spread out consistently and changes periodically.
Therefore, the General Office of Statistics (GSO) provides quarterly labour market updates. Here are the results for Q3 2023.
The most recent quarterly update is generally positive with the GSO finding that the number of workers in Vietnam and the number of workers employed have both continued to increase quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year.
There were a total of 52.4 million Vietnamese of working age in the third quarter of this year. This represents an increase of 92,600 thousand people compared to the second quarter of the year and 546,000 more than were of working age in the same period last year.
In the working age cohort, the GSO found that in the period from July through September, 51.3 million people were employed, which was 87,400 more people than in Q2 and 523,600 people more than in the third quarter of 2022.
The number of trained workers (with degrees or certificates) also increased by half a percentage point over the previous quarter to hit 27.3 percent. This also represented an increase of 1 percent over the same period last year.
Unemployment, underemployment and informal employment
Despite the improvement in employment numbers, the GSO also raised some concerns.
For example, 60% of employed workers were informal workers—working in agriculture, fishing, and/or forestry—which is more seasonal and irregular work. These jobs often have low wages and can be unstable.
The report found that there was an increase of workers in the informal sector of 43,900 compared to the second quarter of the year, and 355,800 more people when compared to the same period in 2022.
This brought the total number of workers in Vietnam engaged in informal employment to 33.4 million people.
Underemployment also failed to see an improvement, registering 2.06%—the same as Q2 although up 0.14% over Q3 2022.
Whereas there was a slight decrease in underemployment in the agriculture, fishing, and forestry industries, the construction and service sectors both saw increases in underemployment at 109,200 people and 14,100 people, respectively.
Furthermore, the number of unemployed people increased to 1.08 million. This was an increase of 6,300 people over the previous quarter and 22,100 over the same period last year.
This was, however, too small to impact the official unemployment rate, which remained steady at 2.3%. It was, however, 0.02% higher than the third quarter of 2022.
Average monthly wages increased quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023. The average income in Q3 of this year was VND 7.1 million (US$289).
This represents an increase of VND 146,000 (US$5.94) over the previous quarter and VND 359,000 (US$14.61) more than workers were during the same period last year.
Broken down by sector, most sectors saw an increase over the same period in 2022.
Notably, the four sectors listed here (mining, accommodation/food service, wholesale/retail/automobile/motorbike repair and processing/manufacturing) are generally higher paid.
The services sector and informal sectors typically have much lower rates of pay. These are often more in line with minimum wage. (Source: General Office of Statistics)