Amid criticism over high unemployment rate, a survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on Saturday showed that urban unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in four quarters at 9.3 per cent during January-March 2019.
The quarterly bulletin of Periodic Labour Force Survey by the NSO, released on Saturday, does not contain comparable figure for January-March 2018.
The NSO, which is a wing of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, stated in the bulletin that the urban unemployment rate (UR) was 9.9 per cent in April-June 2018, 9.7 per cent in July-September 2018 and 9.9 per cent in October-December 2018.
The first quarterly bulletin for the quarter ending December 2018 was brought out in May 2019. This bulletin for the March 2019 quarter is the second in the series. The data showed that UR in urban areas among males was at 8.7 per cent during January-March 2019.
This unemployment rate among male in urban areas was 9 per cent in April-June 2018, 8.9 per cent in July-September and 9.2 per cent in October-December last year. For women, the UR was at 11.6 per cent during January-March 2019.
While this rate for women during April-June 2018 was 12.8 per cent, in July-September was 12.7 per cent and in October-December last year was 12.3 per cent.
The government had been receiving criticism for high unemployment rates amid slowing economic growth. In May this year, government data had shown that unemployment rate in the country was 6.1 per cent of total labour force during 2017-18, the highest in 45 years.
The survey on Saturday pointed out that the overall labour force participation rate (LFPR) was estimated as 36 per cent in the urban areas during January-March 2019, as compared to 35.6 per cent during April- June 2018. The LFPR was 36.1 per cent in July-September and 36.3 per cent in October-December last year.
The LFPR for men was estimated to be 56.2 per cent, while for women it was at 15 per cent in the urban areas during the January-March 2019 period.
The LFPR for men was 56 per cent in April-June, 56.3 in July September and 56.4 in October-December last year.
Similarly, the LFPR for women was 14.6 per cent in April-June and 15.3 in July-September and 15.4 per cent in October-December last year. This indicates that women participation in employment has improved slightly till October-December last year but deteriorated a little bit in January-March 2019.
Labour force refers to the part of the population which supplies or offers to supply labour for pursuing economic activities for the production of goods and services and, therefore, includes both "employed" and "unemployed" persons.
The LFPR is defined as the percentage of population in the labour-force. Labour-force according to current weekly status (CWS) is the number of persons either employed or unemployed on an average in a week of 7 days preceding the date of survey. In Statement 1, LFPR in CWS are presented.
The survey also showed that of the total workforce 37.7 per cent were self-employed, while 50 per cent were salaried or regular workers and 12.4 per cent were casual labourers.