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Bali Unemployment Stands at 492,000

Nearly 30% Unemployment Rate a Matter of Opportunities, Prestige and Island's Youthful Population Base.

(2/3/2005) The Indonesian-language Denpost reports the number of unemployed workers in Bali has reached 492,000, according to the Head of the Regional Labor Department, Mr. Komang Rai Sujaka.

"This is quite high considering that the population of Bali is just 3.75 million, and the work force includes only 1.7 million people," explained Sujaka.

This translates into an unemployment rate of 29%.

According to Sujaka, the unemployment rate is connected to the demographic momentum of Bali's population, which has a disproportionately large number of young people, increasing each year as more and more people achieve the working age of 15 years.

The labor and manpower official went on to explain that economic growth in Bali has been sluggish in recent years, emphasizing the business climate needs to develop further in order to supply more jobs.

Unemployed, But Still Very Selective

Many might see it as something of an anomaly that against this high rate of unemployment, Bali is still seen as a land of opportunity for young workers from Java and Indonesia's other islands seeking manual labor and factory positions.

Sukaja explained that, despite the soaring rate of unemployment, many Balinese refuse to take up work considered demeaning or lacking in prestige.

Adding to the problem is the fact that many members of Bali's work force lack the necessary basic skills needed to undertake successful job-hunting and prepare applications for the available job opportunities, said Sujaka.