Six states saw rising joblessness in cities in July-September 2019, even as the overall unemployment rate in the country declined to 8.4 per cent, compared to 8.9 per cent in the previous quarter, official data released on Monday showed.
The six states were: Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, according to the periodic labour force survey of urban areas for the period July-September 2019.
The highest spike in the urban unemployment rate was seen in Gujarat where it rose 1.3 percentage points to 4.3 per cent – possibly due to a lower base effect. It was followed by Kerala where the unemployment rate jumped to 13.9 per cent in July-September 2019, compared to 12.8 per cent in the previous quarter, and Andhra Pradesh where the rate of joblessness inched up one percentage point to 10.1 per cent.
The sharpest decline in the unemployment rate was seen in Haryana, from 11.5 per cent in April-June 2019 to 7.5 per cent in July-September 2019. It was followed by Odisha where the rate of joblessness dipped to 10.9 per cent from 12.4 per cent.
Joblessness among the youth (in the age group of 15-29 years) declined substantially during July-September 2019 in cities as it dipped one percentage point to 20.6 per cent. However, nine states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, saw a spike in the unemployment rate for youth.
The labour force participation rate (LFPR) – the proportion of population either seeking jobs or are employed – in the Indian cities rose to 47.3 per cent from 46.5 per cent. However, in cities of Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Odisha, the LFPR was on the rise.
For the first time in a year, the LFPR for females went up in cities. It rose from 19 per cent in April-June 2019 to 20.3 per cent in July-September 2019. The states which saw LFPR for females rising for the first time in a year (since July-September 2018) were: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.
However, the labour market has drastically changed ever since the quarterly survey was conducted as 2020 saw the COVID-19 pandemic leading to shutting down of businesses due to national and localized lockdown strategy adopted by the authorities.
The unemployment rate touched at a peak of 27.1 per cent on May 5, 2020, when the country was in full lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, which has eased to 7.8 per cent on October 18 as economic activities pick up pace.
According to the CMIE’s managing director and chief executive officer Mahesh Vyas, the employment rate, which stood at 39.4 per cent in 2019-20, fell to 27.2 per cent before recovering to 38 per cent in September, 2020. In the first three weeks of October, the rate stood at 37.6 per cent, 37.5 per cent and 37.9 per cent, respectively.