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Over 113 million persons are unemployed: Census 2011

Education NewsOver 113 million persons were “seeking or available for work”, that is, they were unemployed, according to Census 2011 data released today. This huge number made up around 15% of the working age population of about 748 million persons in the 15 to 60 years age group. These unemployed persons were distributed over nearly 70 million families or households. That’s about 28% of all households in the country. By categorizing persons as “seeking or available for work” Census has differentiated them from those who are not in the job market, which includes housewives, students, and others.

This appears to be an all-time high for Census years. In 2001, about 23% of households had members that were unemployed. Within a decade, this had risen to 28%. In the past three years, no particular spurt in employment growth or policies that would catalyze job creation have emerged and the situation continues to be dire.These exceptionally high unemployment levels are likely to have contributed to the severe loss the UPA suffered in the 2014 elections. Many pre-election opinion polls had underlined that unemployment was a key issue with voters. These stark figures would also be a wake-up call for the new Modi sarkar.

As reported previously by TOI, over 20% of youth between 15 to 24 years of age were jobless and seeking work according to Census 2011 data released earlier. In absolute terms, this army of unemployed youth is about 47 million.

The number of unemployed persons is actually more than 113 million because the Census office has released data in terms of how many persons per household are seeking or available for work, and the highest number in that is “more than 4”. For the purpose of the present computation, this has been taken as four persons only.

There has been a distinct shift in the employment pattern since 2001. In most states, and nationally, the employment situation is relatively better in urban areas than in rural areas. Nationally, 23% of urban households reported that they had at least one member unemployed while in rural areas this share went up to 30%. In 2001, the rural-urban difference was not so much. The reason behind this appears to be the deep agricultural crisis.

State wise unemployment figures reveal that while most states have approximately the same proportion of households with some member unemployed as the national average, some states have much higher rates. These include Jammu & Kashmir with about 48% households having unemployed persons, Bihar (35%), Assam (38%), West Bengal (54%), Jharkhand (42%), Odisha (39%) and Kerala (42%). At the other end, Maharashtra (14%), Gujarat (12%), Andhra Pradesh (18%) Karnataka (14%) and Tamil Nadu (18%) all seem to be doing much better than other states in providing jobs. These are states with high degrees of industrialization and of urbanization.

Source: The Economic Times

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