Unemployment rate seems going the poverty number way in Odisha. Surveys are seemingly sliced and diced out. This is so when surveys are often considered tricky. Because they are believed to throw two kinds of statistics - the kind you look up and the kind you make up.
Now contrast the following.
On March 24, 2022, the Odisha government dived into this territory. The over zealous officials by quoting a CMIE (Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy) quarterly report (Sept-Dec 2021) on unemployment went gaga over the unemployment rate number of 1.47 percent estimated for the State.
On March 29, 2022, the Odisha Finance Department had tabled the Economic Survey report 2021-22 in the State Assembly. The Economic Survey has quoted the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Report 2019-20 to say that the unemployment rate in Odisha is 6.2 percent, which is higher than the national average. The PLFS is done by the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
In Economic Surveys year after year, Odisha government used to quote the data on unemployment released by PLFS. Not only Odisha, but all states also relied on the PLFS findings on employment and unemployment.
Survey Sliced And Diced?
The CMIE, a private economic think-tank, in its last quarterly report for the period of September - December 2021 has estimated the unemployment rate for Odisha at 1.47 percent. And the passionate officials went to the town tom-toming that the State has the lowest unemployment rate in the country - another feather in the State government's cap.
True to the saying that survey throws two kinds of statistics. A detailed glance at the CMIE survey unravelled the following.
- The Report put the unemployment rate at 1.47 percent for Odisha.
- But the reality is the 1.47 percent rate of unemployment has been arrived at after calculating the unemployment in the age group of the following, where the rate of unemployment is zero per cent.
- 40-44 years
- 45-49 years
- 50-54 years
- 55-59 years
- 60-65 years
- And over 65 years.
However, the same report has mentioned the following big statistics on the following age groups that is considered a sort of bombshell for Odisha.
- Unemployment rate in 15-19 at 11.55 percent
- The joblessness rate in 20-24 years at 7.1 percent
- The rate of unemployment in 25-29 years at 5.28 percent.
Similarly, there are other vital data
- The unemployment rate in the labour force having educational qualifications of graduate or above has been a massive 8.96 percent.
The above data picturise how acute is the unemployment problem in Odisha. The rate is seemingly high in the youth age group. As per CMIE, employment doesn't correspond to salaried employment. It includes self-employment, casual labour etc.
The significance here is zero unemployment rate has been recorded by CMIE in the age group of over 34 years. This is the age-group where most took up self-employment to sustain their livelihood.
PLFS Unemployment Graph
Significantly, on March 24, 2022, when the State govt has been going gaga over the CMIE report discussed in detail above, the National Statistical Office has released its latest quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey Report (July - Sept 2021).
The report dropped a bombshell. The PLFS captures unemployment data on a current weekly basis in urban areas alone. Simply put, the NSO's PLFS graphs the employment scenario in the job engines (Urban areas) of the State.
Here are the disastrous numbers.
- In July -Sept 2020, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) in Odisha in the age group of 15-29 years had been 37.1 percent
- In a year's time (July-Sept 2021), nearly 3 percent in the age group have joined the State's Labour force.
- The total LFPR in the age group is at 40.3 percent in July- Sept 2021.
- The total youths employed in the age group in July-Sept 2020 was 25.6 percent
- The total youth employed in the age group in July-Sept 2021 was 27.1 percent.
- Though labour force had risen by 3 percent, the work force was up by 1.5 percent.
- This shows the acuteness in joblessness in the age group.
The Big Impact
Hand to mouth scenario in the age group in Odisha. The rate of unemployment in the age group of 15-29 years in July - Sept 2021 has been astronomically high at 32.8 percent vis-a-vis 30.9 percent in July -Sept 2020. Three in every 10 have no jobs at hand.
The national average has been estimated at 22.5 percent. Among 18 major states, Odisha has the third-highest unemployment rate in the country.
Odisha Employment Scenario - 15 Years And Above
As per the PLFS quarterly report, the vital indicators are given below.
- The labour force participation rate (LFPR) in 15 years and above was 47.5 percent in the quarter of July-Sept 2020
- The LFPR in the quarter July-Sept 2021 declined to 46.4 percent.
- The reason of drop is as the age progresses, the number of people joining the labour force declines.
- The number of persons employed in the age group of 15 years and above was 39.7 percent in July -Sept 2020
- In the quarter ending July -Sept 2021, the number of persons employed dropped marginally to 39.6 percent.
- The reason of the fall is attributed to a drastic fall in employed persons in the age group of 60 years and above.
The Unemployment Graph
As per the PLFS report, the unemployment rate in the quarter July -Sept 2020 had been high at 16.5 percent, whereas the rate has dropped to 14.6 percent in the quarter ending on July-Sept 2021 - which is the second highest in the country after Kerala.
The high rate in July-Sept 2020 was attributed to Covid lockdown and closure of many MSMEs in the State.
Even as economic activities have been back to normal, as stated in the Economic Survey 2021-22, and the State economy growing by 10.1 percent in 2021-22, the shocker is the unemployment rate in the urban areas in the State for 15-years and above is very high at 14.6 percent.
This alludes to the paradox of high growth but low job creation, which shows the State is still on the U-shaped recovery path.