Youth Unemployment rate at 18.7% and 27.2% among urban young men and women says Govt data

Ashutosh Pratap

The Govt. of India on 31st May 2019 finally released the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-18. This provides the most reliable recent estimates of employment and unemployment we have in India so far. We look at some of the startling figures in this survey report. We avoid comparison with earlier NSSO data to negate the argument that the data is not comparable from earlier years. In the same breadth, it is worth mentioning that all through the report the CSO has made comparative assessments with their earlier estimates which itself shows that they encourage data comparability as media has been doing.

The Govt. of India mentions that urban young women (15-29 years) have an unemployment rate of 27.2 %. An unemployment of this magnitude leaves little to be said. It is self evident of the deep mess urban young women are in. One is left to wonder what the maternity act provided by the Modi Govt will do when the unemployment is at this level. It is not just young women, young men have an unemployment rate of 18.7%, which speaks volumes of the joblessness we are in. 


If you are reading this then it is likely that you have studied atleast till Class 10th, for people like yourself it must be mentioned that  the problem gets more profound as education level increases. As compared to men, it is almost twice as likely that you not find a job if you have passed class 10th, are a women and live in urban area. Urban young women in the age of 15-29 years have the worst unemployment rate. In suma, women empowerment is not leading to economic empowerment of women.

In comparison, in rural India women find it easier to get jobs than men by 2 percentage points. An urban rural comparison shows that for men it has been easier to find jobs in rural areas than in urban areas if you are not educated.

We must reflect why youth(15-29) unemployment is so bad. This is the time for first jobs, marriage for some and laying of economic foundation for all of them. The answers are both at the supply side and the demand side. The authors have widely written about the need to provide critical skills for employability. Sadly, it is not just that education has become isolation from reality, vocational education has become media spectacle and women development has morphed to rights based approach than the economic independence and wellbeing of women. We must also remember that while women are being educated, but as education increases data shows unemployment increases hence the education for women helps little to provide for economic independence. On top of all this, women have atleast a 10% difference in literacy as compared to men; their labour force participation is abysmally low at less than 19% in both rural and urban areas in comparison to men, which is greater than 55 % in both rural and urban areas.

Youth in the age group of 15-29 have had a rough time in 2017-18. It would not be unfair to that India has the most promise on this age for the demographic dividend and sadly it is clear from Govt. data that it is precisely these people who have the worst chances for jobs.

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