The country’s unemployment rate stood at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report which was withheld earlier and released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed on Friday. The NSO said the PLFS results need to be seen as a new series for measuring employment and unemployment on annual basis as the criterion for sampling has been changed to education levels than the criterion of monthly expenditure in earlier quinquennial Employment-Unemployment Surveys.
The PLFS, however, said “compared to the quinquennial rounds, in 2017-18 the unemployment rates in both usual status (ps+ss) and CWS were higher for both males and females”, but added that the figures have to be read with explanatory note for comparability. Chief Statistician of India Pravin Srivastava said, “It is a new design and a new matrix. It would be unfair to compare it with the past. This 45- year high is your interpretation. I don’t want to claim that it is 45-year low or high.”
As per the PLFS, which covered 4.3 lakh people across 1.02 lakh households, unemployment rate among urban workforce was 7.8 per cent, while the unemployment rate for the rural workforce was 5.3 per cent.
The unemployment rate of males on all-India basis was 6.2 per cent, while it was 5.7 per cent in case of females. It also showed that the unemployment rate for males was higher at 7.1 per cent in urban areas compared to 5.8 per cent in rural areas. Similarly, the unemployment rate for women was also higher in urban areas at 10.8 per cent compared to 3.8 per cent in rural areas.
It also said the Labour Force Participation Rate was estimated at 36.9 per cent in 2017-18, while worker population ratio was 34.7 per cent on all-India basis.
The change in methodology was undertaken to assess the impact of changes in policy intervention in education sector on employment. “The rationale for this decision was based on the fact that the education levels in the economy have risen due to various policy interventions like the Right to Education Act etc and it would be important to assess the level of employment and unemployment using this as a stratification basis,” the NSO statement said. As per the new criterion, the sampling design of PLFS was formed in a way where out of 8 households selected in the sample, 75 per cent had at least one member with 10th standard education or above.
The withholding of the jobs report had come to the forefront in January when the acting chairman of National Statistical Commission (NSC), P C Mohanan, a career statistician, and J V Meenakshi, Professor at the Delhi School of Economics, resigned from NSC protesting against the withholding of the NSSO’s first Annual Survey on Employment and Unemployment for 2017-18.
In February, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, at a press conference had said the quarterly employment data sets for the July-December 2018 period (two quarters) are still being processed and the government would release the employment survey report by March “after collating quarter-on-quarter data”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines