India's unemployment rate rose to 7.2% in February: CMIE

Deepika S

New Delhi, Mar 06: The estimated unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February 2019, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9 percent in February 2018, reported Reuters, quoting a Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data.

The unemployment rate has climbed despite a fall in the number of job seekers, Mahesh Vyas, head of the Mumbai-based think-tank told Reuters, citing an estimated fall in the labour force participation rate. The number of employed persons in India was estimated at 400 million in February compared with 406 million a year ago, he said.

The report, based on database from tens of thousands of households across the country, reportedly shows that not only has unemployment increased, but labour participation has dropped.

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The report has dealt a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi just months before what is expected to be a closely fought general election.

In December last year, an official survey that has been withheld by the government shows India's unemployment rate rose to a 45-year high during 2017-2018.

The assessment by the National Sample Survey Office conducted between July 2017-June 2018, showed the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent, the highest since 1972-73, the Business Standard newspaper reported.

The report said that joblessness stood at 7.8 percent in urban areas compared with 5.3 parts in the countryside.

The data is significant because this was the first comprehensive assessment of India's employment situation conducted after Modi's decision in November 2016 to withdraw most of the country's banknotes from circulation overnight, the report said.

A political controversy over the survey erupted after the acting chairman and another member of the body that reviewed the jobs data resigned saying there was delay in its release.

The last report published by the statistics ministry had shown that the unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in 2015/16 from 4.9 percent in the previous year and 4.0 percent in 2012/13.

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