Unemployment rate @ 6.1%

India’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1 per cent in the 2017/18 fiscal year. It was the highest level in at least 45 years.

The data was released a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn-in for his second term. Indian voters gave him a big mandate in the general election that ended this month despite concerns over jobs and weak farm prices.

The unemployment number comes as another set of data released showed that the economy grew at 5.8 per cent in the January-March period, its slowest pace in 17 quarters, and falling behind China’s pace for the first time in nearly two years. The government declined to provide comparable numbers for the jobless rate.

“It’s a new design, new metric,” chief statistician Pravin Srivastava told reporters. He did not elaborate. “It would be unfair to compare it with the past.”

The Business Standard newspaper, which first reported the figure in January, had said that it was based on an assessment carried out by the National Sample Survey Office between July 2017 and June 2018.

The unemployment rate was the highest since 1972/73, the newspaper reported without giving a figure for that fiscal year.

The statistics ministry also said that female labour participation rate in urban areas for the quarter ending December 2018 was 19.5 per cent, compared with 73.6 per cent for males. 

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