According to the employment-unemployment survey of households for 2015-16 released by Labour Bureau, unemployment in India was at a five-year high at 5%. The rate was 8.7% for women and 4% for men. The survey was conducted during April-December 2015 on a total sample of 156,563 households, both rural and urban.
In the previous surveys, the unemployment rate was recorded at 3.8% in 2011 and 4.9% in 2013. The unemployment rate is worked out as percentage of the labour force among the 15-years and above population. An unemployment rate of 5% roughly translates to about 23 million persons (assuming a labour force of about 450 million). This number is indeed large (approximately equal to population of Australia) and should be a worrying sign among the policy makers at a time when the Government is pushing with economic reforms and campaigns such as Make In India.
The survey brought out that about 47% of the working population was self-employed, 33% had casual employment and just 17% had regular wage or salary earning jobs. The remaining were contract workers. It found that 68% of households earn only up to Rs 10,000 per month. Among the regular wage/salaried workers, 57.2% had monthly average earnings of up to Rs 10,000. Expectedly, urban areas continue to provide more and better paying jobs compared with the rural areas. While 82% of job seekers get year-round jobs in urban areas, just 53% of rural job seekers manage to get such security.
The survey has also revealed that written job contracts are not widespread in India. About 65% of the regular wage/ salaried workers, 68% of the contract workers and 95% of the casual workers do not have a written job contract. Another worrying feature was that just 20.6% of workers (except self-employed) received paid leave and 21.6% availed social security benefits.