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A Mixed Picture on Unemployment

Government Boasts Lower Rates of Unemployment While Some Bali Exporters Begin Layoffs.

(4/11/2009) While Bali's governor opened a development planning meeting on Monday, April 6, 2009, by applauding declining unemployment levels in Bali, other reports in the Bali press portend a more worrying wave of layoffs in Bali's export-oriented sector may be ahead.

As reported in Kompas.com, the number of jobs in Bali at the end of 2008 totaled 2.02 million, an increase of 2.4% over the 2007 total of 1.9 million positions.

Governor Pastika said: "This condition has reduced unemployment levels in Bali." The governor said that unemployment at the end of 2008 stood at 3.1%, well below the anticipated unemployment rate of 4.2%. He said this exemplary performance reflects the improving condition of Bali's tourism sector which is creating new employment opportunities both in the formal and informal sectors.

Government figures also claim that the number of people living below the poverty line in Bali stood at 215,700 at the end of 2008, down from the 229,100 "poor" on the books at the end of 2007.

Against these improvements, Pastika told the press that poverty remains a severe problem in Bali's remote villages. The governor is hopeful that the 5.97% rate of economic growth achieved in 2008 can be sustained through 2009.

More Reports of Mass Layoffs

In the face of the statistical evidence of improving employment prospects at the end of 2008, reports in NusaBali suggests a growing wave of layoffs in Bali's export sector may now be underway:

PT Karya Tangan Indah, the manufacturing arm for world famous John Hardy Jewelry, had terminated 130 workers through the end of 2008 leaving 520 workers still employed at their workshops.

Furniture manufacturer PT Warisan in Seminyak has reduced the working hours of their staff.

Jenggala Keramik has reduced their staff by 30 workers.

Members of Commission D of the Badung House of Representatives claim dismissals at this stage of the developing global financial crisis are not needed and are calling on the Bali Department of Manpower undertake financial audits of any company seeking to undertake mass layoffs at this time.