The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has said that the country’s economic growth will be lower than its previous forecast, as unemployment rate is expected to surge.

Yongyuth Chalamwong, TDRI research director of labour development, said the unemployment rate in Thailand last year stood at 0.8 percent, up 0.2 percent from the previous figure. The country’s GDP in 2013 expanded 2.9 percent, leaving 300,000 people unemployed.

He said that if this year’s GDP is lower than that of last year, the unemployment rate will spike up to 1.0 to 1.2 percent, leaving 450,000 people without jobs, due to the prolonged political unrest that has dragged on for six months.

The director also forecast that the Thai GDP will only grow between 2.5 and 2.7 percent this year.

According to the National Statistical Office, 341,000 people were unemployed in March, accounting for 0.9 percent of the population. When compared to the same period of last year, the number of unemployed workers increased by 62,000 people.-VNA