Urban unemployment rate at 9.7% in Q3CY18, reveals NSSO report

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The unemployment rate stood at 9.7 per cent in urban areas of the country during October-December 2018 — a notch higher than the rate of joblessness in the July-September period, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) quarterly bulletin on employment and unemployment indicators.

The unemployment rate stood at 9.6 per cent in July-September 2018, and 9.7 per cent in April-June 2018 (for age group of 15 and above). It was higher for females, at 12.1 per cent, than males (9 per cent) in October-December. This is the first estimate on the labour market in urban areas generated by the NSSO on a quarterly basis, with a sample size of 1.8 million.

The unemployment rate — proportion of people available for work but didn’t get a job — was on the rise for youth, or those who were in the age group of 15-29 years.

Importantly, around one-fourth of the youth (23.7 per cent) was unemployed in October-December 2018, compared to 23.1 per cent in July-September 2018and 22.9 per cent in April-June 2018. The estimates were based on the ‘current weekly status’ that gives an average picture of unemployment in a short period of seven days during the survey. 


According to the current weekly status approach, a person is considered unemployed in a week if they did not work even for 1 hour during the week but sought or was available for work for at least for 1 hour during the week.

Broadly, 60 per cent of the urban population was employed in the services sector during 2018, 34 per cent in industries, and around 6 per cent in the farm sector.

The labour force participation rate (LFPR) in urban areas stood at 46.8 per cent in October-December, compared to 46.7 per cent in the previous quarter. While the LFPR for females stood at 19.5 per cent, it was 73.6 per cent for males, in the quarter ending December. 

The worker population ratio (WPR) — share of workers in the total population — stood at 42.2 per cent.

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