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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: It's official now. Odisha figured prominently in the country with high job losses during the lockdown period. The State is ranked among the top-5 states in the country in the table.

This comes up as a top-up shocker for the State when Odisha had been ranked among the top-5 states in the country with a high youth unemployment rate in 2019-20.

THE LOCKDOWN BLOW

According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) released yesterday, the male workforce population rate in Odisha had nosedived to touch 32.7 per cent vis-a-vis 45.8 per cent during the period Jan-March 2020.

Simply put, only 37 male in every hundred youth population (15-29 years) had a job at their hand in Odisha during the period of April - June 2020.

In contrast, nearly 46 male people in every hundred youth population had some gainful employment in the months (January - March 2020) preceding the lockdown phase. This shows how drastic had been the job losses in the State during the lockdown period.

UNEMPLOYMENT TURNS WORSE

Sample the home-truths that show how Odisha had a history of high youth unemployment rate in the country, which is on the ascent.

In the first quarter of 2018-19, the male youth unemployment rate in the State stood at 19.4 per cent. The number zoomed up to a new high of 33.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019-20. The rate further climbed up in the first quarter of 2020-21 to touch the dizzy heights. The rate of unemployment grew to a high of 39.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21, though the fact is the period saw intense lockdown conditions due to the pandemic.

By virtue of having such a high unemployment rate, where nearly 4 youths in every10 have no jobs, Odisha has been ranked in the top-5 states in the country having a high youth unemployment rate.

Odisha with a female youth unemployment rate that stood higher at over 41 per cent has been ranked among the top-5 states in the country as well, when the fact is in the labour force participation rate Odisha is among the lowest (19 per cent) in the country.

However, in the overall unemployment rate, which includes females, the rate of youth unemployment in Odisha stood at 40 per cent.

THE ABSOLUTE JOBLESSNESS NUMBER

An analysis shows that Odisha has over 11 crore population (as per the latest census projections) in the age-group of 15-29 years. Given the high unemployment rate of 40 per cent, the bitter number is a whopping 45 lakh in the age-group of 15-29 years who had no jobs at hand during the period of April- June 2020.

 

HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT FALLOUT

It seems owing to the consistent high unemployment rate among male and female youths in the State, the fallout witnessed is a decline in the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in Odisha that had been recorded during the year 2019-20, prior to pandemic trouble.

The LFPR declined to 57.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2019-20 from 59.3 per cent at the beginning of the financial year.

During the lockdown period (Apr-Jun), the LFPR in Odisha tumbled further to 54 per cent, revealed the data.

'ENGINEERING' UNEMPLOYMENT?

Coincidentally, the day the PLFS Apr-Jun 2020 quarter released, answering to a BJP legislator's question in Odisha Assembly, Skill Development and Technical Education Minister Premananda Nayak revealed that a massive 46,731diploma and engineering graduates registered in the State Employment Exchange have no gainful employment.

The numbers seem only a tip of the unemployment rot in the State, as the latest PLFS unemployment data has put a glare on the bigger acute unemployment picture in the State.

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