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5 Million Men Lost Jobs Between 2016 And 2018

Unemployed people in India are mostly higher educated and young. Women are worse affected and have much lower participation in the workforce

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Five million men lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018, the beginning of the decline in jobs coinciding with demonetization in November 2016, although no direct causal relationship can be established, according to a report published by Azim Premji University.

The report titled ‘State of Working India 2019’ aims to intervene in the debate over employment generation in time for the general elections to be conducted in April and May 2019. The report presents an update on the jobs situation for the period between 2016 and 2018, and also present some ideas for employment generation.

The controversy over employment statistics should be seen in the context of the fact there is now a fully established politics of unemployment in India. This is a new development that needs to be understood.

The Indian economy has for some period of time been underperforming in terms of providing a sufficient number of good, desirable jobs, and open unemployment rates have been rising over the last decade.

In addition to rising open unemployment among the higher educated, the less educated (and likely informal) workers have also seen job losses and reduced work opportunities since 2016. Sharply increased growth rates since around 2000 and the attendant creation of a culturally ascendant middle class has created an aspirational lifestyle. This means that for an increasing number of Indians, traditional occupations, as well as petty informal work, are less and less acceptable.

India’s unemployed are mostly higher educated and young. Among urban women, graduates are 10 percent of the working age population but 34 percent of the unemployed.

The age group 20-24 years is hugely over-represented among the unemployed. Among urban men, this age group accounts for 13.5 percent of the working age population but 60 percent of the unemployed. Women are much worse affected than men. They have higher unemployment rates as well as lower labor force participation rates.