Friday, September 29, 2006

State of Indian work force

Rediff has an article about an employment report on the Indian labor force. This report is for the 2004-2005 year. Given that the topic is not related to movies or cricket or how people in Bangalore and Mumbai are buying a gazzillion BMWs, I was surprised to even find it on Rediff. This report was commissioned by the 'Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation' (just the name makes me want to work there). Don't let the name fool you. Their Press Release of this report is very succinct and informative. A must read in my opinion. Here are some interesting tidbits with emphasis added by me.

"About 11 per cent of households in both the rural and urban areas were headed by females. Compared to all households, they had, on an average, a relatively smaller household size and a much higher sex-ratio."

Confirms anecdotal evidence from Kerala.

"About 42 per cent of the population in the country were usually employed. The proportion was 44 per cent in the rural and 37 per cent in the urban."

58% of the country is not usually employed! Think about it. In the US when the unemployment rate reaches 10% there is a national crisis. Are they counting different things?

"The unemployment rate (number of person unemployed per 1000 persons in the labour force), according to usual status (ps+ss), was 17 in the rural areas and 45 in the urban areas. The unemployment rates for females are found to be higher than that for males, and highest among urban females."

Say what? There is more employment in rural than in urban India?

"In both the rural and urban areas, unemployment rate among the educated (secondary and above) was higher than that among those whose education level was lower than secondary."

Oh, now I get it. Our distaste for manual labor.

"In rural India, the proportion of ‘all’ male workers engaged in the agricultural activities declined gradually from 81 per cent in 1977-78 to 67 per cent in 2004-05. For ‘all’ female workers, the decline was less - from 88 per cent in 1977-78 to 83 per cent in 2004-05."

So women are taking up agriculture work as men move to cities?

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