ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changes in Uttar Pradesh’s Labour Market Outcomes

Signs of a Deepening Gendered Crisis

This article portrays the trajectory of Uttar Pradesh’s labour market outcomes between 2011 and 2020 based on the employment and unemployment situation and the Periodic Labour Force Survey data. It finds a deepening employment crisis in the state, worse than what is prevailing in the country; this crisis is severe in rural areas and for women, though even men, in comparison to their status in the past, find themselves in a new low. We find absolute declines in labour and workforce in the state with shrinking self and casual employment. There is an increase in regular salaried jobs, both in absolute terms and proportions. The employment crisis has affected people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder more, marking a dangerous form of livelihood crisis in the state.


The employment crisis in India has been well-documented even before the economy received the massive post-COVID-19 shock after the lockdown. For the first time in the history of the country, there has been an absolute decline in the workforce of the country (Mehrotra and Parida 2019, 2021; Ghose and Kumar 2021). The employment crisis has been summed up as a failure to absorb labour from agriculture, primarily those that are less educated, translating into declining employment rates and higher unemployment rates; the nature of economic growth resulting in these labour market characteristics have been summed up to be slower than the technological change associated with it, with the outcome of its benefits accruing to a thin top layer of the population (Ghose and Kumar 2021). Also, while the decline in the womens workforce participation for nearly three decades has been somewhat of a puzzle despite wide-ranging explanations offered by many, the decline in the rate of both labour force and workforce participation among men in recent years has been a new source of concern (Mehrotra and Parida 2021). Thus, what was primarily seen as a gender issue a few years back, has also to be understood currently as a general employment crisis affecting the overall economy within which the gender question remains alive.

The case of Uttar Pradesh: It is in the above backdrop that the employment scenario of Uttar Pradesh (UP) needs to be understood. UP has the distinction of being a state characterised by both high outmigration and inmigration. While the sites of outmigration are distributed among the eastern, southeastern, central and some of the western districts of the state, the NCR region in the west adjoining Delhi is primarily the region of inmigration (Mamgain and Verick 2017). By implication, this also means that the employment outcomes in the state would be shaped by these two very different kinds of regions (over and above a third region, where neither inmigration nor outmigration is prominent) unlike most other states. Thus, the almost organic clubbing of the state with Bihar and other less developed states, particularly in the context of understanding employment, is probably somewhat misdirected.

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Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

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