The latest data by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) brings bad news for the labor market as it sheds light on the rising unemployment rate in the country. As per CMIE database on “Unemployment Rate in India”, the estimated unemployment rate rose to a 27-month high of 7.38% in the month of December 2018 and the total number of people employed fell by about 1.09 crore, according to CMIE data.
In December 2017, a total of 40.78 crore people were employed, while in the month of December 2018 the number fell to 39.69 crores. Besides the increase in the unemployment rate, there has also been a decline in the labor participation rate (LPR).
Rural areas and Women: The worst hit by job loss
The data based on the panel size of over 1, 58,000 households in the country further highlight rural areas to be worst hit by the rising unemployment. Out of the lost 1.09 crore jobs in the last 12-month period, about 83% or 91.4 lakh jobs were lost in rural areas.
The report said, “The breakdown of employment statistics tells us that a person who lost the job in 2018 mostly fits a profile like - is a woman, particularly a woman in rural India, is uneducated and is engaged as a wage laborer or a farm laborer or is a small-scale trader and is aged either less than 40 years or more than 60 years.”
Women were also majorly impacted by job losses as women accounted for 0.88 crores jobs, while men lost only 0.22 crores job. Interestingly men in urban areas gained 5, 00,000 jobs, whereas rural men lost 0.23 crore jobs.
About 37 lakhs salaried employees lost jobs in 2018 with people belonging to age groups between 40 years to 59 years keeping their jobs, while all other age groups saw jobs shrinking.
The report stated that this analysis, however, is only a preliminary insight into the job scenario during the months of September to December, and are bound to have a margin for error which will be eliminated in further studies over next couple of months.
While the data from the report still have a scope of improvement, the fact that unemployment is on the rise can't be left to ignore. The young men and women are entering the labor market and are looking for jobs but industries are complaining about the unavailability of an appropriately skilled workforce. This acute problem of mismatch between demand and availability of job roles have probably resulted in no jobs. Besides this, the unique economic and market challenges troubling each industry have also contributed to the declining employment. As the country and its talent continue to fight with the old and new issues in the job market, how India emerges with policies and strategies to cross these hurdles in 2019 is to look forward to.