A look at Goa’s unemployment numbers

Last week I wrote about India’s unemployment numbers and I was quite surprised to see that Goa was the state with the highest unemployment.

I’ve lived in Goa for about a couple of years so I know it to be a prosperous state, and I wasn’t really convinced that Goa does have the highest unemployment, and then I do have a special relationship with Goa, so I decided to dive into these numbers a little more.


First let’s take a look at how households are divided into rural and urban areas. Here is how the population is split between rural and urban areas in Goa.

Rural Urban Population Split for Goa
Rural Urban Population Split for Goa

The population is split out relatively evenly when you compare it to the rest of the country, as most states are really heavy on the rural side. The only exception to this are Delhi and Chandigarh, but then these two are not really states in the sense the other ones are.

Let’s take a look at how the households are categorized and split out in the rural and urban areas in Goa.

Rural Household categories

While dividing the households into categories, the survey has placed each household in one of the following categories:

  1. Self employed Agriculture
  2. Self employed non Agriculture
  3. Agriculture Labour
  4. Other Labour
  5. Others

In Goa’s case here is how the numbers break out per 1,000 households in the Rural areas.

Rural Household Categories in Goa
Rural Household Categories in Goa

You can see that only 1% are self – employed in agriculture, and 7% are self – employed at all. The 1% self – employed in agriculture is the lowest among all states, with Pondicherry having the second lowest of 3% self – employed in agriculture.

In fact there are only three states – Delhi, Goa and West Bengal – in which the number of self employed agriculture households is less than the number of self employed non agriculture households. To give you a sense of how low this number is take a look at the states with the 5 lowest self employed persons in agriculture.

Self Employed Rural Agriculture
Self Employed Rural Agriculture

Looks like this is one of the key numbers when looking at Goa’s unemployment situation and we will come back to it later. For now, let’s move to the urban household categories.

Urban Household categories

Let’s look at the numbers in the urban areas now.

In this case the categories are:

  • Self employed
  • Regular wage
  • Casual labour
  • Others

Here is how the numbers look like.

Urban Household Categories in Goa
Urban Household Categories in Goa

The noticeable thing here is that Casual labour is one of the lowest in the country with Sikkim having the lowest number of 17 per thousand.

Education Levels

Now let’s look at the education levels for all of Goa. The survey splits it up further into urban / rural, and male / female, but for this I’m going to take the number at the consolidated levels only.

Education Levels in Goa
Education Levels in Goa

From these numbers you can see that Goa boasts of one of the lowest “not literate” numbers in the country. Kerala is the best with only 37 per 1,000 and Goa is second best with 56 per 1,000.

Worker Population Ratio

Next up is the worker – population ratio which is 305 per 1,000 in Goa. The highest number is for Meghalaya at 679 per 1,000 followed by Sikkim at 533 per 1,000 and among the bigger states Tamil Nadu has got a good ratio of 420 per 1,000, and Karnataka at 411 per 1,000.

Labour Force Participation Rate

The consolidated LFPR for Goa is 424 per 1,000 which is at the higher end because Sikkim has got the highest LFPR at 456, and among the bigger states – Tamil Nadu has got a high LFPR of 446.

Bihar has got the lowest LFPR among the bigger states with a number of 284, and the lowest is Pondicherry with a LFPR of 264.

Not in Labour Force

Goa has got 555 per 1,000 persons not in the labor force; J&K is the state with 702 persons per thousand which has the highest ratio of persons not in the labor force among the bigger states, and Pondicherry is the highest one with 724 persons per 1,000. On the other end of the spectrum in Chattisgarh with 516 persons per thousand not in the labor force.

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for Goa is 281 per 1,000 overall; 391 per 1,000 in the rural area, and 183 per 1,000 in the urban area. The rural numbers are quite high relative to others because the next highest numbers are 299 for Jharkhand, 221 for Pondicherry, and 206 for Rajasthan.

Unemployment in Goa
Unemployment in Goa

If you look at the unemployment rate for women in rural areas then Goa has 531 per 1,000 which is only higher than 596 of Chandigarh, but then I guess that doesn’t count much. The next highest number is 449 for Jharkhand, and then 362 for Rajasthan and Pondicherry.


The thing that jumped out at me looking at these numbers was the extremely low level of self – employment in rural agriculture, coupled with a high unemployment rate for women in rural areas in Goa. I think that one is related to others, and women in rural areas are more likely to get self employed in rural areas, than work in other’s farms. This is purely a guess though, and I might be way off the mark, but to me these two factors are worth taking notice.

  1. Women in rural Goa are not getting as many employment opportunities as women in other states in the rural areas.
  2. The level of self employment in rural agriculture is very low in Goa.

It could be that people in rural Goa don’t have enough land as compared with other parts of the country to make self employment profitable, or some other reason, but the key to increasing employment (at least going by these numbers) seem to be promoting employment opportunities for women in rural Goa, and investigating the cause of low level of self employment in rural agriculture might just have the key to solving the issue.

I hope people smarter and more powerful than me look at the great information generated by these new employment surveys, and it becomes a part of our policy formulation, and leads to some great positive action.

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