Unemployment rate in urban areas moderated to 9.3 per cent in January-March, the lowest in at least four quarters, the Periodic Labour Force Survey for the January-March quarter showed. The urban unemployment rate, based on current weekly status, stood at 9.9 per cent in October-December 2018, 9.7 per cent in July-September 2018 and 9.8 per cent in April-June 2018.
Female unemployment rate, however, was higher than the overall rate at 11.6 per cent in January-March, lower than 12.3 per cent in October -December 2018 and 12.8 per cent in April-June 2018, while unemployment rate for males stood at 8.7 per cent in January-March, as against 9.2 per cent in the previous quarter and 9 per cent in April-June 2018.
A state-wise breakup for all years’ age group showed female unemployment to be the highest in Jammu & Kashmir at 38.2 per cent, followed by Uttarakhand at 33.7 per cent and Kerala at 21.5 per cent in January-March.
Among males of all ages, the highest unemployment rate was seen in Odisha at 15.6 per cent, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 13 per cent and Delhi at 12.9 per cent.
Labour-force estimate, according to current weekly status (CWS), is the number of persons either employed or unemployed on an average in a week of seven days preceding the date of survey.
Some relief, annual PLFS report awaited
Urban unemployment rate, based on current weekly status, has slowed to 9.3 per cent in January-March, the lowest in at least four quarters. Female unemployment rate improved, though it continued to stay above the overall unemployment rate, at 11.6 per cent in January-March from 12.3 per cent in the previous quarter. At a time when there is overall slowdown in the economy, these figures show marginal improvement. However, going ahead, the key dataset to watch out would be the yet-to-be released annual PLFS report, which would provide unemployment rate for rural and urban areas for 2018-19.
Comparable figures for the January-March quarter of 2018 are not available as the first quarterly bulletin for the quarter ended December 2018 was brought out in May this year. To be sure, this data set differs from the Annual Report of Periodic Labour Force Survey, which covers both rural and urban areas and gives estimates of employment and unemployment in both usual status (ps+ss) and CWS.
The first annual PLFS report, which was first withheld and then released in May this year, was for July 2017- June 2018. The second annual PLFS report for July 2018-June 2019 is yet to be released.
As per the latest quarterly bulletin, labour force participation rate for 15 years and above inched lower to 46.5 per cent in January-March from 46.8 per cent in the previous quarter.
Female labour force participation rate for 15 years and above also recorded a decline to 19.1 per cent in January-March from 19.5 per cent in the previous quarter, while those for males eased to 73.4 per cent in January-March from 73.6 per cent in October-December.
Labour force participation rate (LFPR) among youth (15-29 years) in January-March was recorded at 37.7 per cent, lower than 38.2 per cent for the previous quarter. Female LFPR for 15-29 years age group was at 16 per cent in January-March as against 16.7 per cent in the previous quarter, while for males, the LFPR moderated to 57.9 per cent in January-March from 58.3 per cent.
A state-wise breakup for 15 years and above showed Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to be the worst performers with female LFPR at only 5.6 per cent and 6.0 per cent, respectively.
The worker population ratio, which gives an estimate of the workforce in the current weekly status, remained broadly at the same level as the previous quarter at 32.7 per cent in January-March, the data showed.