The high incidence of unemployment among the educated in general and women in a particular reflects that the pace of creation of diversified employment opportunities is lagging behind the pace of expansion of education. The educational and training courses offered by the educational and training system and their curricular content is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the kind of employment opportunities being generated by the economy. Gender discrimination in the labour market and at the workplace also seems to be adding to the problem. These features of the unemployment situation call for steps like: (i) expansion and diversification of the economy, especially the rural economy, (ii) restructuring of the education and skill development system to make it responsive to the world of work and (iii) focus on removal of gender bias in the labour market, the workplace and in skill development.
We have so far looked at the number of unemployed and the incidence of unemployment at the macro level. What is the position at the level of the household, which is the basic economic unit, and the economic condition of the household is crucial to the quality of life of the members of the household? Are there households with no employed persons? The 1999-00 survey of the NSSO shows that about 5 per cent of the rural households and about 8 per cent of the urban households have no adult person with stable employment (UPS employment). One-third of the rural households and one-half of the urban households have only one adult with stable employment. The position of the female-headed households (fhh) is much worse: about one-fourth of such households in rural and urban areas have no adult with stable employment. 45 per cent of such rural households and about 40 per cent of such urban households have only one adult with stable employment.