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Unemployment Rate in Indian States:Guj and BJP ruled states best;Cong Rule Worst


Jul 9, 2012
As the Congress Party goes all out to woo the youth voter in the forthcoming general elections, the government’s own statistics department has put out figures that could make it, well, wince.

Detailed tables in the National Sample Survey Organisation’s (NSSO's) Employment and Unemployment Situation in India (2011-12 report) show that the UPA years haven’t been too kind to those between 15 and 29 years of age, which constitutes close to 30 percent of the population.


Here’s why.

Fact 1. The ratio of employed persons from that age group is declining, as a measure called age-specific worker population ratio (ASWPR) shows. In 1999-2000, the ASWPR for young rural males was 741 out of 1000. It went up to 742 in 2004-05 and then slipped to 648 and 616 in 2009-10 and 2011-12. It’s the same story for rural women and urban men. Urban women, however, deviate from the pattern only in 2011-12, when their ASWPR increases.

In contrast, the ASWPR of those in the 30-44 age group shows a steady increase through all the four survey years.

Fact 2. The percentage of the youth (15-29 years) among those in jobs is also declining, while that of those in the older group (30-44 years) is the same or has increased slightly.

This could mean either of two things. Either the job market isn’t creating avenues for new entrants, even as it increases employment for the existing workforce, or the youth is staying away from the job market, preferring to continue with studies. But the second assumption is negated by another figure.

Fact 3. The unemployment rate – which means people who are seeking but not getting jobs - among the 15-29 age group youth is also higher than that of the entire economically active population (15-59 years), of which it is a sub-set. In 2011-12, the unemployment rate for the 15-29 age group was 5 percent and 4.8 percent for rural men and women, and 8.1 percent and 13.1 percent among urban men and women. In contrast, the unemployment rate for those in the 15-59 age group was 1.9 percent and 1.7 percent for rural men and women, and 3.1 percent and 5.5 percent for urban men and women.

Youth jobless rate in 2011-12 (%)
Youth jobless rate in 2011-12 (%)

This problem cuts across education levels. It is well-acknowledged that unemployment generally tends to increase with rising levels of education. Illiterate persons, or those with low levels of education, are generally poor and can’t afford to remain unemployed, while better educated people may be choosy about the work they take up. But, as the report points out, unemployment rates are higher for the youth for every educational level.

The BJP, too, is focussing on the youth, but fortunately for it, youth unemployment rates are a tad better in the states it has been ruling in during the period of the survey (July 2011-June 2012). The Congress can’t claim the same. In agriculture-dominated Haryana, youth unemployment in the rural areas was 6.5 percent, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 3.6 percent (Table 3). These two states have been ruled by the Congress since 2005 and 2004 respectively.

Actually, at 21.1 percent and 14.6 percent, unemployment among rural youth is highest in Delhi and Assam (also ruled by the Congress since the early 2000s), but, to be fair, allowances need to be made for both. Delhi does not have much of a rural economy and Assam has had a troubled past.

Maharashtra and Rajasthan are the only two Congress states which have rural youth unemployment rates lower than some BJP-ruled states. In the latter category, Karnataka (under BJP rule from 2008 to 2013) had the highest rural youth unemployment at 2.4 percent.

But even in the case of unemployment among urban youth, it is Congress-ruled Assam, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh that top the list. BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh come third, followed by Delhi. Congress-ruled Maharashtra and BJP-ruled Gujarat had the least unemployment among urban youth.

Source: NSSO.

There are, of course, other major states with higher levels of youth unemployment. Kerala, for example, has an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent among rural youth and 18 percent among urban youth. Bihar, too, has elevated levels of urban youth unemployment at 14.8 percent. Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are other states with youth unemployment levels above 5 percent. But these are mostly ruled by regional parties (barring Kerala).

The smaller, hilly and special category states (where both BJP and Congress rule in some cases) also have elevated levels of youth unemployment, but their situation has to do with the peculiar problems they face.

Sometimes, there really isn’t safety in numbers.

Seetha is a senior journalist and author

Youth unemployment: Bad news for Cong as Guj fares best; BJP states a tad better


Apr 13, 2011


Apr 13, 2012
Just wait for the congress chamchas now...according to them....all the good things happening in Gujarat is 'not' because of Modi..but all the bad things are because of him....


Sep 3, 2011
Even a blind man can tell that BJP governed states are developing better than Congress ones.

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