India saw a marginal rise in regular wage earners and salaried employees in its urban workforce between April-June 2018 and January-March 2019, from 48.3% to 50%, as per the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO). The report, published on Saturday, showed women performing better than men, a trend that has been consistent throughout the last four quarters. While there has been a 2.1 percent increase in female salaried workers in organised sectors, the number of male workers has grown by 1.5 percent.
However, more than one-fifth of young professionals looking for jobs in Indian cities were unable to secure employment during the last quarter of 2018-19. The survey considered the period of January-March 2019, during which, there was a 22.5% unemployment rate among individuals in the 15 to 29 years age bracket.
While this rate was the lowest among the four quarters covered by the survey, it also highlights an urgent need for unemployment issues in the Indian labour market to be addressed. The labour participation rate had fallen to 36% during January-March 2019, the lowest in three quarters. The statistic was even worse for women, with only 15% seeking work or in employment, as compared to men (56.2%). This slowdown was significantly stronger in the 15-29 years bracket.
A gender-based study of the report shows that the unemployment rate for women seeking jobs was considerably higher. During the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate for women was 29%, 8 points higher than that of men, despite women constituting a smaller part of the total labour force.
On the other hand, the proportion of self-employed individuals also fell, from 38.9% in April-June 2018 to 37.7% in the latest survey period. The study further indicated a decrease in the share of the agriculture sector and secondary sectors like mining, manufacturing, and construction, while that of the tertiary sector, consisting of services, increased.