Shrinking space

Print edition : October 28, 2016
The fifth survey of the state of employment in the country paints a grim picture, with joblessness hitting a five-year high.

Unemployment in the country hit a five-year high of 5 per cent in the year 2015-16, according to the Fifth Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey (EUS) Report 2015-16 of the Labour Bureau.

The survey, which was conducted between April and December last year across all States and Union Territories, polled 7,81,793 members (4,48,254 in rural and the rest in urban households) from a total sample of 1,56,563 households (88,783 in rural and 67,780 households in urban areas). All the estimates were derived for persons aged 15 years and above only.

Tripura recorded the highest unemployment rate (19.7 per cent), followed by Sikkim (18.1 per cent), Kerala (12.5 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (10.6 per cent) and Goa (9.6 per cent) for the year under review. These States have consistently recorded the highest unemployment rates in the country in the past five years, statistics from the previous EUS reports show.

Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate of 0.9 per cent, followed by Karnataka (1.5 per cent), Chhattisgarh (1.9 per cent), Maharashtra (2.1 per cent) and Telangana (2.8 per cent). Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra have consistently maintained some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country in the past five years.

Some 40.4 per cent of the households surveyed belonged to the Other Backward Classes category, 20.3 per cent to the Scheduled Castes, 9.4 per cent to the Scheduled Tribes and 29.9 per cent to Others.

One of the most striking findings of the survey was that at the all-India level, about 77 per cent of the households were reported to be having no regular wage/salaried person. Another finding was that self-employed persons accounted for 46 per cent of all those who were employed, while wage/salary earners were only 17 per cent, contract workers 4 per cent and casual labourers a whopping 33 per cent.

Also, it was estimated that nationally, nearly 66 per cent of the households with savings accounts had average monthly earnings not exceeding Rs.10,000. (The survey also found that 94.4 per cent of all households had savings accounts.)

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