Unemployment highest among educated youth, reveals study

According to a recently released academic paper, joblessness among educated youths rose from 6.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 17.8 per cent in 2017-18.
Image for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)
Image for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

NEW DELHI: Poking a hole in the Union government’s job creation story, the total employment in the country declined by 9 million between 2011-12 and 2017-18, a recently released academic paper has revealed.

According to the paper, India’s Employment Crisis: Rising Education Levels and Falling Non-agricultural Job Growth, employment in India decreased to 465 million in 2017-18 from 474 million in 2011-12, while unemployment rate increased at all-time high of 8.8 per cent in 2017-18 from 3 per cent in 2011-12, mostly among the educated youth.

The paper, authored by economists Santosh Mehrotra and Jajati K Parida and published by the Centre of Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University, revealed depressing trends in employment generation. What was the most alarming was the massive increase in joblessness among educated youth; it almost doubled from 6.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 17.8 per cent in 2017-18 across all categories.

While unemployment rate among illiterates increased from 1.7 per cent in 2011-12 to 7.1 per cent in 2017-18, that among youths having primary education rose from 3 per cent to 8.3 per cent, those with middle education from 4.5 per cent to 13.7 per cent, with secondary education from 5.9 per cent to 14.4 per cent, with higher secondary education from 10.8 per cent to 23.8 per cent, graduates from 19.2 per cent to 35.8 per cent and post graduates from 21.3 per cent to 36.2 per cent. Unemployment rate was the highest among graduates with technical education degree, at 37.3 per cent. This was 33 per cent in case of formally vocationally trained youths.

According to the paper, during this period, manufacturing sector recorded 3.5 million decline in jobs, which resulted in a fall in its share of job creation from 12.6 per cent to 12.1 per cent. “Falling manufacturing jobs is the opposite of the goal of ‘Make in India’ and the opposite of what is desirable if the process of structural transformation is to be sustained,” it said. The employment growth in construction has also decelerated.

“The Indian economy is passing through an unprecedented phase in its employment history, in which total employment (workforce) is declining, and open unemployed and disheartened ‘Not-in-Labour Force-Education-Training’ youth are rising massively,” the study said, observing that a dominant share of jobs is still generated by micro and small units in the unorganised sectors, without any formal job contracts.While the job market is showing sluggish demand conditions, on the supply side, the rising influx of youths who have recently completed education has resulted in a massive rise in the number of open unemployed and disheartened labour force.

The authors

Santosh Mehrotra is Economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, while Jajati K Parida teaches at the Central University of Punjab. The paper was based on the recent NSS surveys on ‘Employment and Unemployment’ and ‘Unincorporated Non-Agricultural Enterprise’

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The New Indian Express