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Unemployment in 11 states exceeds national average

As many as 11 states had an unemployment rate higher than the pan-Indian average in 2017-18, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) annual periodic labour force survey. While Haryana, Assam, Jharkhand, Kerala, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Bihar continued to have a higher level of unemployment compared to the national figures-as was the case in 2011-12 – Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh joined the list in 2017-18.


In 2011-12, when the last survey was conducted, nine states had a joblessness rate higher than the national level.


Who tops the charts

Kerala continued to post the highest unemployment rate at 11.4 per cent in 2017-18 compared to 6.1 per cent in 2011-12, followed by Haryana (8.6 per cent), Assam (8.1 per cent), and Punjab (7.8 per cent), among 19 major states, shows the report, which takes into account the period between July and June.


Business Standard has reviewed a copy of the report, whose release has been withheld by the Centre, terming it as a “draft” despite all the necessary approvals in place. The unemployment rate at the national level stood at 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, says the report, compared to 2.2 per cent in 2011-12.


The bottom row

Chhattisgarh had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.3 per cent in 2017-18, followed by Madhya Pradesh (4.5 per cent) and West Bengal (4.6 per cent), even as the rate of joblessness rose in all the major states.


The jump

The unemployment rate increased the fastest in Gujarat among major states, from 0.5 per cent in 2017-18, partly because of a low base. Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate in the country in 2011-12, but in 2017-18, it reached the same level as Karnataka and surpassed Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh, among others. The jump was mainly because of a considerably higher joblessness rate among youth in the state – from 0.8 per cent in 2017-18 in rural areas, and from 2.1 per cent to 10.7 per cent in urban areas.


“A high unemployment rate in Kerala is mainly due to a high level of education, and is not surprising. Massive surprise is states such as Gujarat and Karnataka, which generally perform well, as they saw a jump in the unemployment rate. Even in Haryana, a typically urbanised state, the unemployment rate went up. So either education levels are going up fast or people are waiting for better jobs,” said Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.


After Gujarat, the unemployment rate grew the most in Madhya Pradesh (4.5 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (6.4 per cent), and Rajasthan (5 per cent) where the ratio went up over four times compared to 2011-12.


The least spike in the unemployment rate among major states was seen in West Bengal, where it stood at 4.6 per cent compared to 3.2 per cent in 2011-12. West Bengal has the fifth-highest unemployment rate among major states in 2011-12 and it was among the bottom five in 2017-18.


The gender divide

A gender-wise analysis of the unemployment situation in the country threw up interesting trends. West Bengal and Bihar were the only states where the rate of joblessness among females declined. In Bihar, the unemployment rate for females decreased drastically from 8.8 per cent in 2011-12 (the second-highest in that year) to 2.8 per cent in 2017-18 and in West Bengal, it declined marginally from 3.6 per cent to 3.2 per cent during the period.

Source: Business Standard