Economy

Lockdown exit: 2.1 crore jobs added in May

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 02, 2020 Published on June 02, 2020

But unemployment rate still at 23.5%, says CMIE study

As the lockdown was eased in May, nearly 2.1 crore jobs were added in the month, says a study by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). However, the rate of unemployment was still high in May at 23.5 per cent.

Compared to 40.4 crore people employed, on average, in 2019-20, employment in May 2020 was 30.3 crore, leaving 10 crore people jobless, said the study.

But this is still an improvement over the situation in April when employment had fallen to 28.2 crore, leading to a loss of nearly 12.2 crore compared to the average employment in 2019-20.

The report said that the increase in jobs in May reflects a partial lifting of the lockdown. But the partial lifting could have generated only informal jobs of the self-employed in the unorganised sectors.

It could neither have generated better quality jobs for people in the 25-29 age group or jobs in the salaried segment.

“Salaried jobs will increase in a meaningful sense only when investments increase. This is a distant dream,” it said.

In the last week of May, the unemployment rate fell to 20.2 per cent.

Labour participation up

The labour participation rate had risen to 38.7 per cent. Most importantly, the employment rate was at its highest since the lockdown, at 30.9 per cent.

Though the unemployment rate at 23.5 per cent in May was the same as it was in April, the labour participation rate improved from 35.6 per cent to 38.2 per cent and the employment rate improved from 27.2 per cent to 29.2 per cent, said the study.

“While the main labour market metrics indicate an improvement in May compared to April, the labour market conditions still remain much weaker than they were before the lockdown,” a blog at CMIE site said.

Between April and May 2020, while the count of those employed increased by over 2 crore, the count of unemployed also increased by 63 lakhs.

The labour force increased substantially by 2.75 crore. Of the jobs that got added in May, 1.44 crore were of small traders and wage labourers, the segments that were most vulnerable during lockdown. In April, 71 per cent of labourers had lost jobs.

The sole segment that did not see any increase in jobs in May was that of the salaried employees.

The number of salaried jobs declined marginally from 6.84 crore in April to 6.83 in May. In 2019-20, there were 8.6 crore salaried employees.

As the lockdown rules are eased further, the labour data may show improvement in June.

However, most of the initial improvements will be of poor quality jobs.

Besides, it would take a very long time to repair the damage to the livelihoods of a very large number of families who suffered during the lockdown.

Published on June 02, 2020
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