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Jobless rate was on the mend before COVID-19 hit

Even the worker population ratio went up to 35.3% as against 34.7% in 2017-18 annual survey, says the ministry of statistics and programme implementation in its annual periodic labour force survey released on Thursday.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 09.49 AM IST
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India’s unemployment rate fell between July 2018 and June 2019 to 5.8% from 6.1% during the same period of 2017-18, even as the labour force participation rate rose to 37.5% from 36.9%.

The worker population ratio also increased, to 35.3% as against 34.7% in the 2017-18, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said in its annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released on Thursday.

The Indian economy grew 6.1% in 2018-19, slower than the 7% expansion recorded the year before.

As per the PLFS report, the urban unemployment rate reduced to 7.7% in 2018-19 from 7.8% and in rural India to 5% from 5.3%.

The female participation rate improved in both urban and rural India during the period under review, going up to 18.6% in 2018-19 from 17.5% the year before.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2019, the unemployment rate slowed to 8.9% from 9.3% in January-March 2019 and 9.9% in October-December 2018.

graph 4th june

Experts feel it would be a challenge to retain the falling trend in unemployment rate in 2019-20, which has witnessed a long nationwide lockdown between March and June to prevent the spread of Covid-19, resulting in job losses across sectors.

According to labour economist KR Shyam Sundar, unemployment was a concern in 2019 and it worsened in 2019-20 due to Covid-19.

“While the latest numbers look suspicious as they are not in sync with the economic slowdown in 2018-19 ... unemployment rate should be much higher for 2019-20,” he said.

According to monthly data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, unemployment rate in India shot up significantly from 7.87% in June 2019 to 23.48% in May 2020.

PLFS is India’s first computer-based survey which gives estimates of key employment and unemployment indicators like the labour force participation rate, worker population ratio, proportion unemployed and unemployment rate in rural households annually and on a quarterly basis for the urban households.

The Labour Force Participation Rate is the percentage of people in the labour force (those who are working or seeking or available for work) in the population while the Worker Population Ratio is the percentage of employed people. The unemployment rate shows the percentage of people unemployed among the labour force.

The PLFS also gives the distribution of educated and unemployed people, which in turn can be used as a basis for skilling of youth to make them more employable by industry. The survey was launched in 2017 and the ministry released the first annual report (July 2017-June 2018), covering both rural and urban areas, in May 2019.

For 2018-19 it surveyed 1,01,579 households (55,812 in rural areas and 45,767 in urban areas) and 4,20,757 people (rural - 2,39,817, urban - 1,80,940).
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