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Recent trends in employment in India

Employment in India is going through dramatic changes defying conventional wisdom and turning many common perceptions on their heads. For the first time since independence employment has grown at a faster rate than population during a five –year period between 2000 and 2005.This is a clear reversal of the jobless growth witnessed in 90s.

Despite the growth in jobs unemployment has also grown. An increasing number of women and elderly are now joining the workforce while the earlier trend of child labor decreasing has slowed down.Infact among the urban male children there is a slight increase in the proportion of those working compared to 1999-2000.Casual labor is also down and self-employment is up. The industrial sector is generating more job than the service sector.

These paradoxical conclusions emerge from the National Sample Survey Organization’s 61st round survey report on employment and unemployment. It was carried out during 2004-2005 covering a sample of over six lakh people spread over rural and urban areas. The results have led to a debate among economists about the implications though the veracity of the findings remains largely unquestioned.

According to the report the workforce participation rate that is the number of persons working as a percentage of the total population has increased by 2.85% a year between 2000 and 2005 which is well beyond the current population growth rate. This increase has been more significant in urban areas and among males. However the report reveals that the unemployment rate has also gone up especially among females in both urban and rural areas.

More people from among those who earlier did not seek work are now in the job market, some of them find jobs some don’t pushing up the numbers in both employed and unemployed categories. Some experts argue that this is happening because families are opting for more and more members entering the job market in order to boost family incomes.

Some statistics

  • Jobs grew 2.8% annually in 2000-05, population by 2.35%.

  • Unemployment also up from 7.4% to 8.7% as more people sought work.

  • More women and aged worked. Proportion of women working up from 26% to 29%.Number of 60+ working was up by 4 million.

  • Casual workers fell from 33% to 28%, self-employed up from 53% to 57%.

  • Real wages grew less 1.3% vs 2.8% in agriculture, 0.8% vs 4.2% in rest from 99-2000 to 04-05 than earlier.

  • Urban male employment 1999-2000 :49.0, 2000-2005: 51.9

  • Unemployment 1999-2000:7.3,2000-2005: 7.5

  • Urban female employment 1999-2000:11.1,2000-2005:13.3

  • Unemployment 1999-2000:7.2,2000-2005: 8.0

  • Rural female employment 1999-2000: 20.4,2000-2005: 21.6

  • Unemployment 1999-2000: 7.0,2000-2005:8.7

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