With COVID-19 ravaging the country, states imposed containment measures to curb the viral spread. Owing to these countermeasures, at least 73.5 lakh Indians have become unemployed.
The dismal figures seeped in after the Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) put out the stats pertaining to national employment. Both salaried and non-salaried employees fell to 39.08 crores in April from 39.81 crores in March. This marks the third straight month where the jobless numbers have surged.
With paranoia reigning over, April witnessed a similar drop in employment rate and labor participation rate. Despite being out of work, a substantial portion of the unemployed are not scouting for new opportunities. CMIE’s data showed the unemployed who are not looking for jobs has shot up to 1.94 crores in April from 1.60 crores in March.
Lack of quality opportunities coupled with mediocre economic performance are the primary factors that contributed to this undesired situation, experts feel.
“The states and regions took charge and imposed partial or full curbs. In practice, it shrank economic activities, and instilled fear which is real due to the infection spread. The first place where you will see the impact is the labor market,” said Arup Mitra, an economics professor at Delhi University.
Mitra further elaborated, “There are three problems now in the labor market—fall in the number of employed people, fall in labor force participation and the rise in people unemployed yet not looking for jobs. It’s a critical situation.”
Vindicating his observation is CMIE’s data pertaining to the employment rate, which plunged to 36.79% from 37.56% in March, a four-month low. The national unemployment rate further worsened to 7.97% in April from 6.5% in March.
Labor economist KR Shyam Sundar said, “The next two-three months will be crucial and the job market stability will depend on how well we manage the crisis. But the good part is salaried jobs in urban India are not getting impacted like last year as businesses have developed resilience.”
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