The International Labour Organization (ILO) expects India’s unemployment to rise in 2017 and 2018. The UN agency has revised upwards the unemployment rate for India to 3.5 per cent for both 2017 and 2018 in its latest World Employment and Social Outlook for 2018 from 3.4 per cent projected earlier.
In absolute terms, the country’s unemployment is estimated to have risen to 18.3 million in 2017 from 17.8 million projected earlier, while for 2018, the ILO estimates unemployment to increase to 18.6 million from 18.0 million estimated earlier in its previous employment outlook report.
With its revised estimates in percentage terms, the agency has now kept the unemployment rate for India constant at 3.5 per cent for all three years of 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Unemployment levels in Asia and Pacific are expected to remain low relative to other regions largely due to the fact that employment growth in the region is expected to remain strong, with the number of employed persons projected to grow by some 23 million or 1.2 per cent between 2017 and 2019, the ILO said. Southern Asia, due to its rapid labour force growth, is expected to account for close to 90 per cent of the total employment growth in Asia and the Pacific, while employment growth in Eastern Asia is expected to be marginal, mainly as a result of the shrinking workforce in China, it said.
Also, a large proportion of the jobs created in the region are expected to remain of poor quality, the report said. Vulnerable employment will continue to affect roughly 72 per cent of workers in Southern Asia, 46 per cent in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, and 31 per cent in Eastern Asia, the ILO said, adding that it continues to be more pervasive among women than men. “This is especially the case in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, as well as in Southern Asia, where vulnerable employment rates among women are respectively more than 10 and 8 percentage points higher than those of men,” it said.
Globally, the ILO estimates unemployment rate to have decreased to 5.6 per cent in 2017 from earlier estimate of 5.8 per cent. For 2018, the Geneva-headquartered agency has forecast unemployment rate to fall to 5.5 per cent as against earlier estimate of 5.8 per cent.
“For 2018, the global unemployment rate is expected to fall by 0.1 percentage points, keeping the number of unemployed essentially unchanged despite the presence of a growing labour force…,” the ILO said in its report.
The situation for emerging and developing countries is in contrast to developed countries, with the employment growth projected to fall short of labour force growth, thereby, raising the unemployment headcount by 0.9 million in 2018. “The unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly, by 0.1 percentage points, in emerging countries and to remain stable in developing countries. The positive impetus from emerging countries recovering from the downturn is expected to level off in 2019, causing the unemployment rate to remain at 5.5 per cent and the global number of unemployed to rise by 1.3 million,” it said.
The agency also highlighted the risk to global progress made in working conditions for the poor workers. “In the medium term, important geographic shifts in the distribution of the global labour force will occur, as labour force growth rates vary considerably across regions. For instance, sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia will be home to 38 per cent of the global labour force by 2030, up from 26 per cent in 1990…,” the ILO report said.