Diminishing formal sector or rising informal sector? The job market in PNG

There seems to be only a few jobs available for so many young people over 18 years of age in Papua New Guinea who are vying for jobs in the formal sector.

The newspapers today quoted respected economists and Executive Director of the Institute of National Affairs Mr. Paul Baker who said that there are about 3-4 million people over age of 18 who are trying to look for jobs in the formal sector that has only 400,000 to 500,000 jobs available. This is a dire situation for those in the formal sector

The National newspaper front page news story – 27th January 2022

But on the other hand, there is very little data available concerning the role of the informal sector and its contribution to the PNG economy. Informal sector supports the livelihoods of 80% of the PNG population. Two areas that are thriving in the country are: a) urban informal sector and b) rural semi subsistence sector.

In the context of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Kavan (2013) the urban informal sector is described as livelihood activities which include microenterprises or tiny livelihood activities selling, distributing, producing or manufacturing goods and providing services, either regularly or occasionally or on a needs-basis and being carried out in prescribed or un-prescribed markets or areas, such as streets, roadsides, in front of supermarkets or offices, at bus stops, and in yards of houses

In the urban informal sector jobs like cooking food and doing door delivery, buai sales, web design, clothing design, after school tutoring students, managing online social media pages, etc are growing. In the rural semi subsistence sector people who are fruit farmers, rubber farmers, local jewelry workmanship, transport operators, selling flowers/seeds, basket weavers, etc are increasing.

Image obtained from https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/157956/1/251_Conroy_informalecon.pdf

The informal sector is growing and pumping money into people’s pockets too. Create your own job, work hard, try your hand, give it a shot!