The second wave of the COVID-19 has landed a deadly blow on Indian employment!
According to the Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), restrictions imposed by various states coupled with the country’s economy to absorb labour force has resulted in the loss of a whopping 7.35 million jobs in April, pushing the Indian unemployment rate to 8% from 6.5% in March.
The CMIE mentioned that the labour participation rate fell for a third consecutive month in April to a mere 39.98%, lowest since May 2020, when the country was undergoing the first phase of the nationwide lockdown.
The employment rate fell to a whopping 36.8% in the last month against 37.6% recorded in March.
The CMIE, in its weekly analysis of the latest released data, mentioned that the lockdowns could have been the primary hurdle for individuals to seek employment which in turn led to a fall in labour participation.
That being said. Subsequently, the economy also failed to provide adequate job opportunities to those seeking jobs as per the CMIE. Currently, it is being predicted that job prospects will remain bleak for the ongoing fiscal 2022.
Note here that the CMIE also mentioned that while the labour force participation rate can be attributed to the partial lockdowns fuelled by the second wave of the pandemic, the drop in employment cannot be attributed to the same. This is because job losses were observed in the agricultural sector, which was not heavily impacted by the lockdowns.
CMIE’s newly released data showed that 6 million out of the 7.35 million people who lost their employment in April belonged to the agricultural sector.
April is anyway considered a lean month for employment in farms as the rabi crop is usually harvested by then. The preparation for the kharif crop usually begins in May. CMIE reported that 114 million individuals were employed in the agricultural sector in April when compared to 120 million in March 2021.
Salaried Job Losses in India
Apart from that, the job losses for salaried employees was recorded at 3.4 million (34 lakh).
As per the CMIE, the loss of employment in salaried masses from February to April totalled to a whopping 8.6 million, while the cumulative loss of salaried jobs since the pandemic started in 2020 stood at 12.6 million!
Furthermore, the CMIE said that the salaried job losses were disproportionately recorded from rural India; 68% in rural and 32% in urban Indian cities.
Urban India made up 58% of the total salaried jobs in 2019-20, while rural salaried jobs accounted for 42%.
CMIE said that the disproportionate share of loss in rural salaried jobs shows that the damage has been meted mostly to medium and small-scale industries, predominantly located in rural India.
All in all, the CMIE indicated that new investments that potentially create more jobs are very unlikely to be made during the course of 2021 and that the second wave of COVID-19 has stalled economic recovery. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.