Urban joblessness eased to 9.8% in Q2FY22

Urban unemployment rate was 20.9% in the April-June 2020 period when the first wave of the pandemic hit the country hard.

Unemployment rate in urban India, in current weekly status (CWS), for all ages stood at 9.8% in the second quarter of current fiscal, lower than 12.7% prevailing in the first quarter, but 40 basis points higher than 9.4% prevailed in the January-March quarter of the last fiscal.

Urban unemployment rate was 20.9% in the April-June 2020 period when the first wave of the pandemic hit the country hard.

The latest available results of the quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), conducted by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI), also showed that 22.5% of urban youth in the 15-29 years age group remained unemployed during the July-September period of current fiscal, lower than 27.7% in the year-ago quarter.

As per the PLFS yardsticks, the activity status of a person is determined on the basis of reference period of last seven days preceding the date of survey, as his/her CWS. Unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of the unemployed persons in the labour force.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which provides more frequent insights into the employment-unemployment scenario, the urban joblessness rate was 8.32% in July, 9.78% in August and 8.64% in September 2021.

The rate stood at 7.37% in October, 8.2% in November, 9.3% in December, 8.16% in January and 7.55% in February this year. PLFS data comes with a lag. During the July-September 2021 period, unemployment for urban males for all ages was 9.3%. It was 11.6% for their female counterparts. At 18.2%, urban Kerala had the highest unemployment rate among all states.

Labour force participation rate, which is defined as the percentage of population in the labour force for all age group during the July-September 2021 period, was 37%, same as that of the corresponding period last year. It was 37.1% during the April-June period of the current fiscal.

As per the latest quarterly PLFS report, the unemployment rate was the highest at 27% for urban females in the 15-29 age group.

The quarterly PLFS, which is limited to urban areas, is different from annual PLFS report. Annual PLFS covers both urban and rural areas and gives estimates of labour force indicators both in CWS and usual status (US) method.

The US method records only those persons as unemployed who had no gainful work for a major time during 365 days preceding the date of survey and were seeking or available for work.

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