India is currently staring at a massive unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) this month. However, a look at the disaggregated unemployment data tells us that India may have another serious problem — unemployment among the educated.
According to a CMIE report that analysed the data between January and April 2022, the level of unemployment among graduates is 17.8 per cent. But some States such as Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have not been able to provide jobs for more than one-third of their graduates.
The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the situation with the number of unemployed graduates jumping sharply to 19.3 per cent in 2021. The disruption to economic activity in this period and large number of migrant workers returning to their hometowns could have led this increase.
Curious case of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a particular outlier where more than half of its graduates — 54.2 per cent of them — are unemployed, as of April 2022. The State also has the second highest level of unemployment at 29.8 per cent in July, just after Haryana (30.6 per cent). And when it comes to graduates, the level of unemployment in the State was less than 22 per cent until 2020 after which it skyrocketed to 54.3 per cent in 2021.
This could be attributed to multiple factors. First, almost 11 per cent of migrant workers who returned to their home-State in 2020 belonged to Rajasthan, leading to a spike in unemployment. Second, the State’s economy is primarily led by agriculture and industry with a smaller share of IT. While fewer people in the IT industry lost their jobs during the pandemic, the job losses in industry were much more severe.
The data also shows that only 1 per cent of the people who have only received primary education in Rajasthan are unemployed. But this could be due to this category of labour force primarily being self-employed or employed in the unorganised sector.
The other State which witnessed a high level of unemployment among graduates was Bihar, with 34.2 per cent of its graduated workforce without a job. Bihar had the second largest number of returning migrant workers in 2020 and the relatively slower growth in the State could have made it worse for those seeking jobs.
Ones who fared well
In contrast, States such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha among others have less than 10 per cent of unemployment rate among graduates as of April. It is just 6.1 per cent in Karnataka, which is also the only State to maintain less than 11 per cent unemployment among graduates since 2016.
States which have strong industrial clusters or those with more IT and IT enabled services companies are able to provide jobs more easily to those with higher education. For instance, States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have lower unemployment rates of 9.4 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively, among graduates.
(Amritha Satish Kumar is an intern with BusinessLine)