15th July – Jobless growth becomes more systemic

The findings of the latest employment survey called the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2017-18), are a cause for concern as the scenario is still far from anything that would denote decent employment.

Jobless growth

Findings –

  • The two biggest issues here are the shrinking share of the labour force; and the rising unemployment.
  • The labour force participation rate (% of people working or seeking work in the above-15 year’s age category) in the earlier survey of 2012 was 55.5%. This has shrunk to 49.7% in 2018.
  • There is an absolute decline in the number of workers from 467.7 million in 2012 to 461.5 million in 2018.

Multiple dimensions

  • The definition of ‘employment’ includes in itself ‘self’ – as well as ‘wage employment’. Within the category of ‘self-employed’, the survey also counts those engaged in ‘unpaid family labour’.
  • The figure for the overall unemployment rate at 6.1% is 2.77 times the same figure for 2012.
  • The highest unemployment rate of a severe nature was among the urban women at 10.8%; followed by urban men at 7.1%; rural men at 5.8%; and rural women at 3.8%.
  • The decline in women’s labour force participation from 31% to 24% means that India is among the countries with the lowest participation of women in the labour force.

Educated unemployment –

  • Defined as unemployment among those with at least a secondary school certificate, it is at 11.4% compared to the previous survey’s figure of 4.9%.
  • The unemployment rates go up as levels of education go up. Among those with secondary school education, it is 5.7% but jumps to 10.3% when those with higher secondary-level education are considered.
  • The highest rate is among the diploma and certificate holders (19.8%); followed by graduates (17.2); and postgraduates (14.6%).

Burden more among women

  • Here again, the burden is the highest among urban women (19.8%) followed by rural women (17.3%), rural men (10.5%) and urban men (9.2%).
  • Compared to the earlier 2012 survey, unemployment of educated men has more than doubled in both rural and urban areas and in the case of women, the rate has nearly doubled.

Youth unemployment –

  • The youth unemployment rate (unemployment among those in the 15-29 years age category) has reached a high 17.8%.
  • Even here, the women stand more disadvantaged than the men, especially urban women, whose unemployment rate of 27.2% is more than double the 2012 figure of 13.1%. The rate for urban men, at 18.7%, is particularly high as well.

Conclusion –

The overall conclusion here is that the trend of ‘jobless growth’ that was till recently confined largely, if not only, to the organised sector has now spread to other sectors of the economy, making it more generalised. This calls for a thorough re-examination of the missing linkages between growth and employment.

SourceThe Hindu

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