Although no reason was given for the job slump over the past two decades, it is understood to be related to the phasing out of the multi-million-kina PNG LNG project construction phase, The National newspaper reports.
And the public and private sectors are now banking on the five new major resource projects currently in the pipeline to boost the economy and create more jobs.
The World Bank report says the percentage of the population employed fell from 70.3% in 2000, to 66.3% in 2002, to 47.3% in 2010, to 45.9% in 2021. It adds that the employment-to-population ratio is the proportion of a country's population employed.
It adds that people aged 15 and over are generally considered the working-age population.
Currently there five projects in various stages of negotiations with operators, including Total's Papua LNG (K43 billion), P'nyang (K151.1 billion), Twinza's Pasca (K1.7 billion), Newcrest-Harmony's Wafi-Golpu (K19 billion) and restart of Barrick Niugini's Porgera gold mine.
Other resource projects in the pipeline include the proposed Frieda River in West Sepik and the Yandera project in Madang.
His predecessor Peter O'Neill also recently said that there were no jobs available and families were suffering.
"Let's focus on the cost of living, get inflation under control, create more jobs by ensuring we have a conducive business environment," he said.
"Let's get Papua LNG, Wafi Golpu, Pasca A, P'nyang projects off the ground. These are the sort of investments that will create thousands of jobs."
According to the 2011 PNG national census, PNG had a "youth bulge", with 58% of the total population (7.3 million) at the time being under the age of 25 - one of the highest proportions in the Pacific.
According to a publication by the PNG National Research Institute (NRI), youth unemployment was around 62% in 2020.
The NRI paper by Julian Melpa indicated that the reasons for the high youth employment were poverty, inadequate formal education, corruption and recruiters considering work experience, The National reported.
"The youth have the capability and potential to contribute effectively to move PNG towards achieving its desirable future.
"However, inadequate job opportunities is an obstacle for the young generation to build this nation," Melpa said.
"As the population of young graduates increases annually, the need for securing formal jobs also increases."
Melpa says "creating employment opportunities for youths in the country means building more factories, supporting youths to be more involved in agriculture, engage unemployed youth in community services, and to provide opportunities to the youth to access loan for doing business".