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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: It is a shocker for the State! With a whopping of over 20.37 lakh in the State looking fervently for a job in 2017-18, Odisha was among the ten major States that emerged as the culprit in zooming the country's unemployment rate to a high of around 6.1 per cent in the fiscal year 2017-18.

Among the 19 major States, Odisha with an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent in 2017-18 figured at the eighth spot in the dubious list. Odisha is behind Kerala, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Goa and Telengana in the vital indicator of joblessness rate.

In Odisha, the rural male unemployment rate was estimated at 7.3 per cent and female unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent. The overall rural unemployment rate was pegged at 6.9 per cent. The unemployment rate in urban Odisha was higher at around 8.4 per cent. The urban gender divide puts the female rate at 12.7 per cent and male rate at 7.3 per cent.

Such grim findings on joblessness rate in Odisha were to the fore in the first ever annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-18 released yesterday.

An analysis of the data of the PLFS and an earlier survey done by CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) reveals a sort of a double whammy at work in Odisha in 2017-18. Because, the State had not only failed to create new jobs vis-a-vis the growing jobseekers but had also witnessed high job-losses, which was evidenced by an astonishing jump of active job-seekers in 40-44 years age-group.

Though the overall unemployment rate in Odisha was over 7 per cent, it was observed that the unemployment rate in 25 – 29 years age-group had been in the double digit mark. This fact reveals that youth unemployment in Odisha is higher than the average unemployment rate (15-59 years).

The big shocker here is despondency seems to be high in the 15-29 years age-group in the State as the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), which implies sum of unemployed and employed persons in an economy, in the age-group is mere 37 per cent in Odisha.

As per the economic norms, low LFPR shows very few people in Odisha are entering the job market. When unemployment rate is high, the LFPR tends to remain low as jobseekers seem to have lost the confidence in finding a job. For instance, when the unemployment of urban females in the State stood at a high of 12.7 per cent, the LFPR hovers at below 20 per cent.

Sample this: The unemployment rate for rural female graduates is a stupendous 29 per cent. And unemployment rate for rural males, who have completed diploma or certificate course, is a humongous 42.7 per cent; whereas it is 38.2 per cent for rural females. The figures for urban males and females were at 24 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. Simply put, every four of ten diploma pass-outs in Odisha are unemployed.

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