India's urban unemployment rate between January and March this year fell to 9.3%, the lowest in at least four quarters, as per an unpublished government report reviewed by Reuters. The urban unemployment rate of the January-March quarter compared with 9.9% in the preceding quarter.
The report, which is likely to be published soon, however, did not assess rural unemployment. The estimates were arrived at by employing the "current weekly status" method which gives an average picture of unemployment in a short period of seven days preceding the survey period, the document said. A person is deemed to be unemployed in a week if he did not work even for 1 hour during that week.
As per the report, joblessness among the youth, aged between 15-29 years and who account for roughly over a third of India's 1.3 billion people, was also slightly lower at 22.5% in the quarter ending March 2019, as compared to 23.7% in the preceding quarter.
Yet, the labour force participation rate or the percentage of population making up the labour force, which had increased between April and December last year, recorded a dip to 36% during the March quarter.
The fall in the labour force participation rate reflects the weak economic growth of the Indian economy, a cause of concern for the current government. While the slight improvement in the urban employment rate may be a relief for the government, these numbers are to be taken with a pinch of salt given the Indian government has in recent years faced criticism for not releasing comprehensive jobs data regularly. India’s economic growth fell to an over four-year low of 5.8% in the January-March period and further fell to 5% in the following quarter, highlighting the fact that the economy continues to be in the throes of a slowdown, and as a result, not enough jobs are being created.