India’s unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low in July-June 2021-22 to 4.1 per cent, according to the latest annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on Friday.
The unemployment rate under the so-called “usual status” during the one-year period declined for the fourth consecutive year since it was launched in April 2017.
In usual status, employment is determined on the basis of the reference period of 365 days preceding the date of the survey, as distinct from “employment status”, determined on the basis of a reference period of seven days, which is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person.
During 2021-22, the unemployment rate in both rural and urban areas declined to 3.2 per cent and 6.3 per cent, respectively, from 3.3 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively, in 2020-21.
The unemployment rate for rural women (2.1 per cent) was lower than it was rural men (3.8 per cent) in 2021-22, whereas in urban areas, the rate was high for females (7.9 per cent) as compared to males (5.8 per cent).
The latest survey also showed the labour force participation rate (LFPR), which shows the percentage of people either working or seeking work in the population, had increased significantly in the last five years from 37.5 per cent in 2018-19 to 55.2 per cent in 2021-22.
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The rural LFPR in the survey stood at 57.5 per cent, marginally up from 57.4 per cent in 2020-21, whereas its urban equivalent saw an increase to 49.7 per cent from 49.1 per cent in the corresponding period.
Separately, the NSO released the quarterly PLFS survey for urban India, which showed after declining for five consecutive quarters till July-September FY23, India’s urban unemployment rate in current weekly status terms stagnated at 7.2 per cent in the December quarter, the same as the September quarter.
During the December quarter, while the unemployment rate for men declined marginally to 6.5 per cent, that of women increased narrowly to 9.6 per cent from 6.6 per cent and 9.4 per cent, respectively.
The LFPR in the December quarter increased marginally to 48.2 per cent from 47.9 per cent in the September quarter.
While the LFPR of males saw a marginal decline to 73.3 per cent from 73.4 per cent, that of females registered a small increase of 0.5 percentage points and stood at 22.3 per cent, from 21.7 per cent in Q2.
Prior to the PLFS, the National Sample Survey Organisation (now known as NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation used to bring out the data related to employment and unemployment, based on household socio-economic surveys once in five years.
Youth unemployment (for the 15-29 age group) marginally increased to 18.6 per cent in the December quarter against 18.5 per cent in the September quarter, primarily driven by a rise in the female youth unemployment rate to 25.1 from 24.7 during the same period.