Urban Maharashtra was the worst hit by the pandemic in terms of loss of employment. The rate of unemployment in the urban areas of the industrialised state were 35.6% and 22.6%, respectively, in April-June and July-September quarters of the last year at 35.6% and 22.6%, far higher than the national averages of 20.9% and 13.3%.
According to the July-September, 2020, quarterly report of the periodic labour force survey (PLFS), which estimates labour force indicators in the current weekly status (CWS) for urban areas alone, Jharkhand had the second-highest unemployment rate in the two quarters since the outbreak of the pandemic at 32% and 19.8%, respectively.
CWS captures the activity status of a person in the week preceding the date of survey and hence persons are classified as unemployed if they didn’t have gainful work even for an hour on any day in the preceding week and were seeking or were available for work.
Kerala comes a close third recording a 27.3% rate of unemployment in the April-June 2020 period and 18.9% in July-September 2020 period. Jammu and Kashmir had the fourth highest unemployment rate at 17.4% during the July-September period of the last year followed by Odisha and Telengana at 16.5% and 15.4%, respectively.
According to the latest quarterly PLFS report, which is the eighth in the series released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI), Delhi had the lowest unemployment rate both in April-June 2020 and July-September 2020 at 10.5% and 4.5%, respectively.
During the July-September period of the last year, the unemployment rate for both men and women fell to 12.6% and 15.8%, respectively, from 20.8% and 21.2% in the previous quarter. During the July-September 2019 period, the unemployment rate for men was 8% and for women, it was 9.7%.
According to the report, labour force participation rate (LFPR), which is defined as the percentage of population in the labour force, improved during the July-September quarter of the last year to 37% for all ages from 35.9% in the immediate past quarter, but lower than 37.5% recorded in the January-March, 2020 period.
Worker population ration (WPR), defined as the percentage of workers in the population, also improved to 32.1% in July-September 2020 from 28.4% in the April-June period of last year. It was 34.1% in the January-March period of last year.
Quarterly PLFS report is different from annual PLFS report. Annual PLFS covers both urban and rural areas and gives estimates of labour force indicators both in CWS and usual status (US) method. US method records only those persons as unemployed who had no gainful work for a major time during 365 days preceding the date of survey and were seeking or available for work.
As per the latest annual PLFS report (July 2019-June 2020), India’s unemployment rate was 8.8% for 2019-20, same as in 2018-19, based on the CWS method.