New data points to employment worries

Anecdotal evidence is validated by statistics: the situation on the jobs front is grim and has worsened in 2017-18, the first year for which an official survey was done comparable to previous surveys, the latest of which was for 2011-12. The National Sample Survey Organisation’s Periodic Labour Force Survey has found that unemployment rate in 2017-18 was 6.1%, a 45-year high. In 2011-12, the comparable rate was 2.2%. Youth unemployment had more than trebled: from 5% to 17.4% for rural males. Indisputably, the data bears the imprint of the economic disruption wrought by demonetisation in November 2016. Instead of arguing to what extent, the government chose to withhold the report, causing two members to resign from the National Statistical Commission.

Anecdotal evidence is validated by statistics: the situation on the jobs front is grim and has worsened in 2017-18, the first year for which an official survey was done comparable to previous surveys, the latest of which was for 2011-12. The National Sample Survey Organisation’s Periodic Labour Force Survey has found that unemployment rate in 2017-18 was 6.1%, a 45-year high. In 2011-12, the comparable rate was 2.2%. Youth unemployment had more than trebled: from 5% to 17.4% for rural males. Indisputably, the data bears the imprint of the economic disruption wrought by demonetisation in November 2016. Instead of arguing to what extent, the government chose to withhold the report, causing two members to resign from the National Statistical Commission.

The data also shows a decline of 2.6 percentage points in the labour force participation rate, the proportion of working-age population who are employed or seeking work, to 36.9%. One reason could be more people staying longer in education. The rate of educated unemployed has gone up, but at a lower pace than between 2004-05 and 2011-12. Depending on the quality of education, this could lead to better jobs in the future. The full report should be released, for informed analysis.

This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.
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via New data points to employment worries

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