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Unemployment Rate Stands At 42% For Graduates Below The Age Of 25

Azim Premji University's 2023 report suggests graduates face more than 15 per cent unemployment, with 42 per cent for those under 25

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Although the unemployment rate in India has decreased for individuals across all education levels following the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate remains above 15 per cent for graduates and has even reached as high as 42 per cent for graduates under the age of 25, as suggested by The State of Working India 2023 report by Azim Premji University. Graduates who are 35 years or older have witnessed a decline in unemployment to less than 5 per cent, indicating that over time, graduates do secure employment. Nevertheless, there are concerns about the quality and alignment of these jobs with their skills and career aspirations.

The report highlights a slowdown in overall regular wage job creation between 2017 and 2021. Formal jobs with written contracts and benefits, as a share of all regular wage work, rose from 25 per cent to 35 per cent. During the pandemic, regular-wage employment fell by 2.2 million, but there was an increase in formal employment by 3 million and a loss of about 5.2 million of semi and informal regular-wage employment.

While approximately half of the lost employment can be attributed to women, only one-third of the rise in formal employment benefited women. Consequently, women experienced a decline in formal employment during this period, primarily driven by a shift toward self-employment resulting from economic challenges. This shift was accompanied by a decrease in the proportion of both casual and regular wage work for women.

The report also indicates a rise in distress as both self-employment and agriculture constitute fallback options for workers who have lost work and cannot afford to remain unemployed. It highlights that gender-based earning disparities have declined since 2004. However, gender norms continue to remain, and as the husband’s income rises, women are less likely to work. In urban areas, after the husband’s income crosses Rs 40,000 per month, the chance of the wife working increases again.