The second wave of COVID-19 and the resultant localised lockdowns have impacted over 75 lakh jobs, taking the unemployment rate to a four-month high of 8 per cent, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said on Monday.
The situation on the employment front is expected to continue to remain challenging going forward as well, CMIE’s managing director and chief executive Mahesh Vyas said.
“In the month of April, compared to March, we have lost 75 lakh jobs. That is what has caused the jump in the unemployment rate,” he told PTI.
The national unemployment rate touched 7.97 per cent as per the centre’s proprietary data, with urban areas witnessing higher stress at 9.78 per cent and rural joblessness at 7.13 per cent.
The national unemployment rate had stood at 6.50 per cent in March, and the number on both rural and urban front was lower.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a slew of pockets going under lockdown-like situation with only essential activities being allowed, which result in a chill in a bulk of economic activities and a resultant impact on jobs.
“I do not know about the peaking of the COVID wave, but I can see stress on the employment front,” Vyas said.
What is likely to happen is that unemployment can remain at high levels, he said, adding that the labour force participation rate can also fall. “In worst situation, both can happen,” Vyas added.
He, however, said that the situation right now is not as dire as the one witnessed in the first lockdown, when the unemployment rate had touched up to 24 per cent levels.
The country is reporting around 4 lakh new infections a day and over 3,000 deaths. In an address to the nation last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised states to look at lockdowns as a last resort, because of its impact on economic activity.