Unemployment trend moves up age brackets, higher in 20-29 age grouphttps://indianexpress.com/article/explained/unemployment-trend-moves-up-age-brackets-higher-in-20-29-age-group-5761630/

Unemployment trend moves up age brackets, higher in 20-29 age group

The shift in the unemployment pattern is more noticeable for females, especially in rural areas.

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In 2017-18, the percentage share of unemployed rural males rose to 43.2 per cent in the 20-24 age group: C R Sasikumar/File)

Alongside the unemployment rate for the country rising to 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, there has also been a marked shift in the unemployment pattern to higher age groups in a little over a decade. The share of unemployed in different age groups, as per the recently released Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for 2017-18, shows that the higher unemployment has shifted to the 20-24 and 25-29 age groups as against the 15-19 age group earlier, signifying more people opting for higher education or willing for a longer wait to get their desired jobs, experts said.

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In 2017-18, the percentage share of unemployed rural males rose to 43.2 per cent in the 20-24 age group, from 38 per cent in 2004-05 National Sample Survey (NSS) round of Employment-Unemployment Survey. In the 15-19 age group, there was sharp reduction in percentage share of unemployed males to 23.9 per cent in 2017-18, from 35.7 per cent in 2004-05.

The shift in the unemployment pattern is more noticeable for females, especially in rural areas. Rural females remained unemployed for a slightly longer time than males, with percentage share of unemployed rural females for the 20-24 age group rising to 47.33 per cent in 2017-18 from 36.9 per cent in 2004-05. Similarly, for the 25-29 age group, percentage share of unemployed rural females rose to 25.41 per cent in 2017-18 from 22.6 per cent in 2004-05. In the 15-19 age group, the percentage share of unemployed rural females saw a reduction to 12.7 per cent in 2017-18 from 18 per cent in 2004-05.

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One of the reasons for this could be attributed to a shift towards education in the 15-19 age group, experts said. Also, many people after gaining education are probably spending time unemployed in wait of their desired job.

Explained: What does the latest data on unemployment mean

The shift towards education is visible in the PLFS data. As per the distribution of youth by activity status, the Survey shows that 71.7 per cent of rural males in the 15-19 age group were enrolled as students in 2017-18, as against 57.3 per cent in 2004-05.

The share of students has also gone up in the 20-24 group over the decade, with 26.1 per cent of rural males in 2017-18 as against 16.6 per cent in 2004-05.

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A sharp reduction is seen in the share of casual labour and self-employed among rural males, with only 6.8 per cent of rural males as casual labour and 8.7 per cent as self-employed in 20-24 age group in 2017-18 as against 33.6 per cent and 35.6 per cent, respectively, in 2004-05.

More rural females also opted for education in the 15-19 age group, with 64.1 per cent share in 2017-18 as against 47.1 per cent in 2004-05. In the 20-24 age group, share of rural females as students went up to 13.8 per cent in 2017-18 from 7.5 per cent in 2004-05.

A similar trend of shift of unemployment towards higher age groups was also seen for urban areas. The share of unemployed urban males in the 15-19 age group reduced to 14.73 per cent in 2017-18 from 23 per cent in 2004-05, while that for 20-25 age group was 36.12 per cent in 2017-18 from 40.6 per cent in 2004-05.

The share of unemployed urban males increased in the 25-29 age group and 30-34 age group to 26.20 per cent and 8.93 per cent, respectively, in 2017-18, from 19.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively, in 2004-05.

The share of unemployed urban females reduced in the 15-19 age group to 5.81 per cent in 2017-18 from 12.6 per cent in 2004-05. For 20-24 and 25-29 age groups, however, the share of unemployed urban females went up to 41.07 per cent and 30.43 per cent, respectively, in 2017-18, from 39 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, in 2004-05.