Unemployment rate falls to 5.8% in 2018-19 from over a four-decade high

The labour force participation rate (LFPR) – the proportion of population working or seeking jobs – inched slightly up to 50.2 per cent in 2018-19 from 49.8 per cent in 2017-18.
The unemployment rate in India fell to 5.8 per cent in 2018-19 from over a four-decade high the previous year, according to official data released on Thursday.

 
The unemployment rate in 2017-18 had risen to 6.1 per cent, compared to 2.2 per cent in 2011-12, the previous survey, according to the results of the periodic labour force survey released by the National Statistical Office. Beginning in 2017-18, the survey has been conducted on an annual basis between the months of July and June.

 
The labour force participation rate (LFPR) – the proportion of population working or seeking jobs – inched slightly up to 50.2 per cent in 2018-19 from 49.8 per cent in 2017-18. This is for the age group of 15 years and above.

 
“The year 2017-18 was difficult because of the effect of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which had also reflected in the high unemployment rate. So ideally, 2018-19 should have shown an improvement but it has not changed significantly,” Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mahesh Vyas said.

Between 2017-18 and 2018-19, the joblessness rate dipped from 5.7 per cent to 5.2 per cent for females and from 6.2 per cent to 6 per cent for males. In villages, the unemployment rate went down to 5 per cent from 5.3 per cent and in cities it stood at 7.7 per cent from 7.8 per cent the previous year.

 
Among youth, in the age group of 15-29 years, the unemployment rate declined from a high of 17.8 per cent to 17.3 per cent, the official data showed.

 
The participation of females in the labour force improved from 23.3 per cent in 2017-18 to 24.5 per cent in 2018-19. For males, it declined from 75.8 per cent to 75.5 per cent. However, while the LFPR was better in rural areas, it remained flat in cities.

The PLFS report was released on Thursday after an official committee gave approved it the previous day. The government had withheld the release of the PLFS report of 2017-18 last year, even after the approval of the top statistical body National Statistical Commission, prompting its then chairman and a member to resign from their posts.

 
However, after the general elections concluded in May 2019, the government released the report which showed the unemployment rate touching a 45-year high. The government, however, had said that the figures of 2017-18 were not comparable with older numbers — a claim which was contested by data experts.



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