Government cautions on unemployment data put out by private companies

The government has responded to recent media reports on India’s unemployment rate, saying that results of surveys by private companies or organisations should be used with caution. 

Private organisations conduct surveys based on their own methodologies, and these may not necessarily be scientific or based on internationally-accepted norms, the Labour and Employment Ministry has said in a statement. 

“The methodology used by these companies/organisations usually has a bias towards over-reporting unemployment or under-reporting employment due to their own sampling procedure and definitions used for collection of data on employment/unemployment. The results of such surveys should be used with caution,” the ministry has added. 

The ministry’s response has come after a private research group released data that showed that India’s unemployment rose to a 16-month high of 8.3 per cent in December. 

The government has said that the official data on “employment–unemployment” is released by the Ministry of Statistical and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) based on Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). The latest annual PLFS report is available for the survey period July 2020-June 2021 for estimates at all-India level.

The quarterly PLFS report is also released by the MoSPI for urban areas. The quarterly reports are available for July-September 2022 which shows the worker population ratio or employment for person aged 15 years and above is at the level of 44.5 per cent during July-September 2022 compared to 43.4 per cent during the same quarter in 2019. 

The unemployment rate during July-September 2022 stood at the level of 7.2 per cent compared to 8.3 per cent in July-September 2019. Thus, the data of PLFS indicates that the employment market has not only recovered the jolt of COVID-19 pandemic but is also at levels higher than the pre-pandemic level. 

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