Report on recent unemployment in states

Jobless rate: 11 states hit double digits in January-March


Urban joblessness rates in all age groups in at least 11 states remained in double digits, while it was stubbornly high among 15 to 29 year olds across all states, with this segment’s overall unemployment rate hitting 22.9% in the January-March quarter of 2020-21, latest data showed. In the October-December quarter, 12 states had reported double-digit urban joblessness rates.

The combined Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh had an unemployment rate of 17.6% in this quarter, a shade lower than the 17.8% recorded in the previous October-December quarter but above the 10.8% figure for the March quarter of 2020, according to the quarterly bulletin of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released on Tuesday. It was followed by Uttarakhand, Kerala, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Gujarat had the lowest urban unemployment rate at 3.8% in the March 2021 quarter, followed by West Bengal with 4.8%. At least 13 states recorded double-digit urban unemployment rates for females in all age categories, while 11 states logged the same for males.


The overall unemployment rate in urban areas in the January-March quarter of 2020-21 was at 9.4%, lower than the 10.3% in the previous October-December quarter. The rate has cooled after being in double digits for the past three quarters, the PLFS data had shown.
Youth unemployment appeared high across states in the January-March quarter continuing a trend that has been visible since the January-March quarter of 2020 in the 15-29 years age group.


The problem of unemployment has persisted in the 15-29 years age group due to several factors. First, the labour market has been tight and the experienced and older persons are preferred than those who would need training,” said Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of the country. He said Covid-19 had prompted many to move back to farming which also distorted the overall picture. While some manage to find work in the farm sector and others remain jobless. “The big worry is that movement of labour out of agriculture to manufacturing and skilled jobs has not happened to that extent,” said Sen.

The PLFS was launched by the National Statistical Office (NSO) to estimate the employment and unemployment indicators (worker population ratio, labour force participation rate, unemployment rate) in the short time interval of three months for urban areas only in the current weekly status (CWS).

Under CWS, a person is considered as unemployed in a week if he/she did not work even for one hour on any day during the reference week but sought or was available for work at least for one hour on any day during the reference week, according to the PLFS. The annual PLFS report covers both rural and urban areas whereas the quarterly bulletin is for urban centres.

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