National Sample Survey Office’s unemployment data confirms crisis on the ground: experts.

“The NSSO findings are not surprising, but they are alarming. The trends of rising unemployment were already visible,” said AmitBasole, lead author of a report, “State of Working India, 2018”.


The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO's) data showing a record spike in unemployment in 2017-18, which was published in a news report on Thursday, is a validation of trends seen on the ground, according to labour economists, job-seekers and workers’ representatives. The government’s failure to release the NSSO report was the latest sign of a complete lack of transparency regarding jobs data, they said.

“The NSSO findings are not surprising, but they are alarming. The trends of rising unemployment were already visible. Our analysis showed it was higher in 2015 than in 2011-12, and we expected demonetisation to have a harsh effect,” said AmitBasole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at AzimPremji University in Bengaluru, and lead author of a report, “State of Working India, 2018”.

Data confusion

Dr. Basole noted that the government’s decision to discontinue the NSSO’s five year surveys, failure to regularly release Labour Bureau data and delay in releasing the NSSO’s periodic labour force survey had led to “an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion. Instead, the government kept citing job numbers based on EPFO’s payroll data and the Mudra loans, which are not helpful,” he said.

“The data, as cited by the news report, shows that there has been a rise in unemployment and a decline in the labour force participation rate (LFPR) post demonetisation, which is in line with what we have also been saying,” said Mahesh Vyas, chief executive and managing director of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which has done its own unemployment surveys.

“The LFPR is a measure of people looking for jobs. So, if this is declining while unemployment is growing, it means that there is a very real and serious crisis in jobs. The government has to make the data public as soon as possible,” added Anamitra Roy Chowdhury, a labour economist with the Centre for Informal Sector &Labour Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Thursday’s Business Standard report on the NSSO report said overall unemployment was at a 45-year high, with youth between the ages of 15 and 29 facing higher rates of joblessness than others. This comes as no surprise to Anupam, founder of YuvaHallaBol, a movement of young job-seekers.

“In the last couple of years, the simmering anger among educated youth has been clear. After demonetisation, we have seen that the labour force itself has shrunk,” he said, adding that urban women, who face an unemployment rate of 27% are worst hit.

The informal sector employs more than 90% of the country’s workforce, and has witnessed a decline in available work and wages in the last two years, said Chandan Kumar, coordinator of the Working People’s Charter, an alliance of informal workers’ groups and unions. “Daily wage labourers say they used to get at least 20 days of work each month. After demonetisation, they get only ten days,” he pointed out.

Unemployment data based on draft report: NITI Aayog—

Think tank debunks media report of joblessness at 45-year high

The government’s think tank NITI Aayog on Thursday debunked claims of a news report that unemployment in 2017-18 was at a 45-year high. The NITI Aayog said the report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), cited as the source for the report, was in fact a draft and not approved by the government.

“This is a draft report,” NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said at a press conference. “We need to publish data on a quarterly basis. The July 2017-December 2018 data has just been received. Therefore, we don’t know the data or the veracity of the data. Citing this data or comparing it with the 2011-12 data will not be correct.”

Mirrors 1972

A report in the Business Standard on Thursday, which cited the NSSO’s periodic labour force survey — that is yet to be released — said the unemployment rate was 6.1% in 2017-18. The only year of comparable data when the unemployment rate was higher was in 1972-73. It was at 2.2% in 2011-12.

The NSSO report is a matter of much controversy, with the two external members of the National Statistical Commission citing the delay in its release as a major reason for their resignations on Monday.

The data reportedly showed that joblessness was higher in urban India (7.8%) than in rural India (5.3%). Within this, it stood at 17.4% for rural males and 13.6% for rural females. In urban India, joblessness was at 18.7% among males and a huge 27.2% among females.

an India, joblessness was at 18.7% among males and a huge 27.2% among females.

Importantly, the data reportedly showed that the labour force participation rate (LFPR), the measure of people working or looking for jobs, declined from 39.5% in 2011-12 to 36.9% in 2017-18. This phenomenon — of unemployment rising while the LFPR dipped — is a cause for serious worry, experts say, explaining that it probably shows that people are simply giving up on finding jobs and have stopped seeking work.

‘People leaving low quality jobs’

CEO of NITI Aayog and ex-officio member of the National Statistical Commission Amitabh Kant on Thrusday said, “Nearly 7.8 million jobs have been created. We have to take into account people leaving the low quality jobs. We are creating adequate number of jobs for new entrants. The problem seems to be the quality of jobs.”

“India needs about seven million jobs and enough jobs have been created for new entrants,”

Mr Kant was speaking at a press conference in response to a news report in the Business Standard which cited data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of unemployment being at a 45-year high.

Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar said the government in fact had evidence of increasing job creation. Stating that the NSSO report was only a draft that had not been approved by the government, he said: “The government will approve the report which has not been finalised yet. The reason for the delay is it was felt that there were other quarters of data to be made available.”

“This is a situation where the NITI Aayog is holding a press conference on NSSO data, where the NSSO should have been holding it,” MadanSabnavis, Chief Economist at CARE Ratings said.

“Even with the release of the back series GDP data, it was NITI Aayog that did it. It is clear the government is not happy with the numbers the Central Statistics Office is putting out.” (Source: The Hindu)

Current Affairs Home