The impact of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax regime could be far worse than what was shown in the unemployment rate figures reported by the National Sample Survey Office for 2017-2018, Business Standard reported on Friday.

On Thursday, the newspaper had reported that the NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey recorded the unemployment rate in India at a 45-year-high of 6.1% in 2017-2018. This was the first full financial year after the government demonetised high-value currency notes in November 2016. Its data was collected between July 2017 and June 2018.

However, if the current weekly status approach of the NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey is considered, the unemployment rate stood higher for the same period. The current weekly status determines the activity status of an individual from seven days before the date of survey. In the usual status approach, which is normally used in India, the activity status of a person is determined from one year before the date of survey.

According to the current weekly status approach or CWS, the unemployment rate stood at 8.9% in 2017-2018. Among females, the rate was 9.1% – higher than in usual status approach at 5.7%. Among males, the rate stood at 8.8%, higher than 6.2% in usual status.

Unemployment in urban areas was higher than in rural areas – 9.6% according to the CWS approach, as against 7% in the usual status approach. The rate was at 8.5% in rural areas as per the CWS approach, compared to 5.3% in regular status approach.

The labour force participation rate, which is the proportion of the population working or seeking jobs, showed that more women were leaving the workforce than men. The rate among women was at 23.3% in 2017-’18, dropping from 31.2% in 2011-’12. Among males, the labour force participation rate was at 75.8% in 2017-’18, as against 79.8% in 2011-’12.

As per the usual status approach, the labour force participation rate declined from 39.5% in 2011-’12 to 36.9% in 2017-’18. The labour force participation has been declining since 2004-’05. The dip was at a higher pace in 2017-’18 compared to 2011-’12, but at a lower speed than what was witnessed in 2009-’10.

Two independent members of the National Statistical Commission had resigned earlier this week after the government allegedly failed to publish the report that was prepared last month. The report is still not public.

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