Phased unlocking to help recover two-thirds of lost jobs: CMIE

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The phased unlocking across the country is expected to recover about two-thirds of the lost jobs or 17 million of the 25 million non-farm jobs lost since January even as the unemployment rate continued to inch higher and stood at 13% as of June 6, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said.

As per the CMIE data, while the labour participation rate fell further to 39.7% as on June 6 compared to 40%, the employment rate dropped further to 34.6% compared to 35.3% in May.

“The unemployment rate that reached 11.9% in May 2021, continued to rise into early June. The Indian labour market is in its worst condition since the nation-wide lockdown months of April and May 2020,” CMIE said in its weekly labour market analysis.

According to CMIE, the consistent fall in the labour participation rate is a matter of concern.

“Low and falling labour participation rate and high unemployment rate imply a fall in the employment rate and a fall in absolute employment,” it said.

The employment rate fell from 36.8% in April 2021 to 35.3% in May 2021 and further to 34.6% in the week ended June 6. While the job losses in May were 15.3 million, the further fall in employment rate would imply a further loss of jobs, it said.

CMIE, however, is optimistic that this relentless loss of employment is expected to abate somewhat in the coming weeks as many parts of the country that were under a lockdown have started announcing cautious relaxations.

“These could provide some succour to the daily wage labourers who have suffered during the calibrated and localised lockdowns of May 2021,” CMIE said. Data shows nearly 17 million daily wage labourers and small traders such as hawkers lost employment in May 2021.

According to CMIE, while quick recovery is expected in the informal jobs lost in the unorganised sectors because of the local lockdowns, only a strong economic recovery will help to revert to the employment levels of 2019-20.

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