Unemployment data based on draft report
The government’s think tank NITI Aayog debunked claims that unemployment in 2017-18 was at a 45-year high. The NITI Aayog said the report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), cited as the source for the report, was in fact a draft and not approved by the government.
According to the NSSO’s periodic labour force survey —the unemployment rate was 6.1% in 2017-18. The only year of comparable data when the unemployment rate was higher was in 1972-73. It was at 2.2% in 2011-12.
The NSSO report is a matter of much controversy, with the two external members of the National Statistical Commission citing the delay in its release as a major reason for their resignations.
The data reportedly showed that joblessness was higher in urban India (7.8%) than in rural India (5.3%). Within this, it stood at 17.4% for rural males and 13.6% for rural females. In urban India, joblessness was at 18.7% among males and a huge 27.2% among females.
Importantly, the data reportedly showed that the labour force participation rate (LFPR), the measure of people working or looking for jobs, declined from 39.5% in 2011-12 to 36.9% in 2017-18. This phenomenon — of unemployment rising while the LFPR dipped — is a cause for serious worry, explaining that it probably shows that people are simply giving up on finding jobs and have stopped seeking work.
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