Government Plans To Increase Unemployment Data Frequency, Say Sources

The statistics ministry plans to release urban unemployment data monthly and rural unemployment data quarterly
Government Plans To Increase Unemployment Data Frequency, Say Sources

In a bid to strengthen India’s statistical system, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI) is considering to increase the frequency of unemployment data released, besides taking a call on the revision of the base year of consumer price index (CPI) and index of industrial production (IIP) by end of the current calendar year.

The statistics ministry is planning to change the frequency of urban employment data from quarterly to monthly, while carry out quarterly release of the annual rural employment data, a senior government official told Outlook Business.

At present, the urban employment data is part of the periodic labour force survey (PLFS), conducted quarterly for urban areas. It uses a methodology that relies on current weekly status (CWS) where the estimates are calculated based on the last seven days. A person, for instance, would be considered unemployed in a week if he or she did not work even 1 hour on any day during the reference week. On the other hand, the rural employment data is collected and published after 365 days.

India’s unemployment rate in urban areas had fell sharply to 6.6 per cent in 2023-24 from 7.2 per cent in 2022-23, due to strong economic growth. Meanwhile, rural unemployment data has also been showing notable improvements. The unemployment rate in rural areas decreased to 2.4 per cent in 2022-23 from 3.2 per cent in 2021-22.

By exploring the increase in frequency for such data, the statistics ministry aims to help the policymakers across other ministries. “The objective is to make the release of these indicators more frequent for more efficient policymaking,” says the official.

In line with this objective, the ministry would also decide the revised base year for CPI and IIP data, released monthly, within the current year. Sources say that the government is mulling over to take 2024 as the new base year, with effect from 2026.

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