50% of India’s working-age population (15 years and above) is out of jobs for the first time, The Economist reported. According to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) latest jobs survey, half of the working-age population did not contribute to any economic activity. 

Business Standard leaked a survey that reported that India’s unemployment rate had risen to a 45-year high during 2017-2018. According to the leaked survey, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) was at 49.8 per cent in 2017-18, declining sharply from the 55.9 per cent in 2011-12.

The LFPR is the section of working population in the age group of 16-64 either currently employed or seeking employment. People such as housewives, those still studying and those above the age of 64 are not factored in the LFPR.

Radhicka Kapoor, senior fellow, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, told Business Standard, “It is a serious cause of worry as you are unable to utilize the demographic dividend factor — especially keeping in mind the fact that 65 percent of the population is in the working age group.”

The report also mentions that compared to 2011-12, the LFPR for females fell by 8 percentage points to 23.3 per cent in 2017-18 whereas the LFPR for males dipped by 4 percentage points to 75.8 per cent, which means that only a quarter of the females in the country were either working or seeking jobs.