In Charts: Who Is Hurting Most From India’s High Unemployment?
Commuters and pedestrians walk past the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

In Charts: Who Is Hurting Most From India’s High Unemployment?

A survey released by the National Sample Survey Office has pegged India’s unemployment rate at 6.1 percent. The survey suggested a jump in the unemployment rate since 2011-12, when such an exercise was last conducted, though the chief statistician said the two surveys aren't strictly comparable.

Beyond the headline unemployment rate, the survey studied incidence of unemployment across different segments of the population. Some of the findings are detailed below.

The unemployment rate is calculated based on ‘usual status’, which uses the status of employment of a respondent over the past one year.

Higher Unemployment Among The More Educated

The survey shows a higher rate of unemployment among those who had secondary education and above.

The unemployment rate for rural males with education of secondary level and higher was 10.5 percent in 2017-18, compared with 3.6 percent in 2011-12. The unemployment rate for urban males in the same category was 9.2 percent in 2017-18 compared with 4 percent at the time of the last survey.

Unemployment was higher among women, both in rural and urban areas. 17.3 percent of rural women with secondary education and above were unemployed, while 19.8 percent of urban women of that level of education were unemployed.

Does Formal/Technical Education Help?

The survey also studied the rate of unemployment among those who had formal and technical education.

A degree in engineering, medicine, agriculture or a diploma/certificate in agriculture, engineering/technology, medicine, crafts was included under technical education.

As per the survey, 52 percent of rural females and 51 percent of urban females weren't in the labour force despite higher education. The unemployment rate was at 11 percent and 10 percent respectively.

Among rural males, the unemployment rate was 17 percent for those with formal/technical education. For urban males, the unemployment rate was 16 percent.

The Youth Have Higher Unemployment Rates

The study also shows that the unemployment rate among the youth—those within the age group of 15-29—is higher than the national average.

The highest unemployment rate was seen among urban women within that age group. More than a quarter of young women in the labour force were unemployed. For urban men, the percentage was only marginally lower at 18.7 percent.

In rural areas, 13.6 percent of young rural women were unemployed, while 17.4 percent of young rural male had not been employed in the last one year.

Which States Have The Highest Unemployment?

The unemployment rate varied sharply across states.

The highest unemployment rate, including men and women across urban and rural areas, was seen in Nagaland and Lakshadweep. The lowest was seen in Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Meghalaya.

Among the country’s most populous states, Uttar Pradesh had an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent, while Maharashtra had an unemployment rate of 15 percent.

Bihar had an unemployment rate of 22.8 percent, while that of West Bengal was 13.2 percent.

Unemployment According To Social Groups

The study also measured the unemployment rate across social groups such as scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward classes.

The data showed that across India, the unemployment rate was highest among the ‘others’ category. Among males in rural areas, the unemployment rate was the highest among the SC category at 6.4 percent and lowest among the ST category of 4.9 percent.

Among females, the unemployment rate was the highest among ‘others’ at 5.9 percent and lowest among the STs at 2.2 percent.

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