Employment and Livelihoods in Lao PDR

01 Jan 2009

The 4th National Human Development Report

This report constructs human development indicators for provinces across Lao PDR and identifies regional disparities in Human Development across the country. This fourth NHDR also focuses on how to promote employment and livelihoods in Lao PDR to overcome these disparities.


The report promotes investing a larger share of available resources in education and vocational training institutions, as well as greater investments in agricultural productivity, manufacturing, and tourism, as a way of promoting sustained and equitable growth. Furthermore, given the current population dynamics, the report emphasizes the need to target specifically the Lao youth through short and long term training in areas where employment opportunties are best.


  • There has been noteworthy economic and social progress made since Laos implemented the New Economic Mechanism (‘NEM’) in 1986.
  • More than 75% of workers continue to be engaged in agrarian livelihoods, a clear indication that economic growth has not created jobs.
  • Industrialisation has brought in many stakeholders in land and other natural resources.
  • On the social sector scorecard, the average level of education in the population is only about four years; it is lower among ethnic groups and women.
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