Disguised Unemployment

Unemployment refers to the situation in which an individual who is able and willing to work at an existing wage rate does not get work. Rural unemployment can be divided into two categories — Disguised unemployment and Seasonal unemployment. In this post, we will talk about Disguised Unemployment.

Types of Unemployment in India

Disguised Unemployment


Disguised Unemployment Meaning


An entire family (or even, an extended family) working on a single farm is a common enough sight in rural India. Even if some of the family members were to be removed from the farm, the agricultural output would not be affected. This suggests that the number of workers engaged in farming is more than what is actually required.

Disguised Unemployment Example

Let us say that a piece of land can be cultivated by five people efficiently. However, eight people are engaged in cultivation. Now, if we were to remove three of these people, then there would be no change in the farm produce. In this case, we can say that three of the eight people are in disguised unemployment.

Thus, disguised unemployment refers to the situation in which the number of persons engaged in work is more than what is actually required to complete the work.

In India, disguised unemployment is prevalent due to the following reasons.

  • Joint family system: In a rural joint family system, almost every member of the family is engaged in farming activities on the family farm, irrespective of the requirement. Thus, most of the members remain in disguised unemployment.
  • Lack of alternative employment opportunities: In rural areas, there is a lack of non-farming employment opportunities. As a result, many people remain engaged in agriculture and allied activities even when they do not contribute positively to the output.

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