Layoffs, salary cuts bring tough times for job markets globally; workers stranded for livelihood

The double-edged sword of joblessness and health hazard has made the future uncertain for many. 

jobs, employment, lay off, unemployment, coronavirus, covid-19

A series of lay-offs and salary cuts amid a major disruption in businesses across the globe have left many workers stranded, making them incapable to carry on their livelihood. A complete lockdown has been called in many countries including India and it has brought businesses to a standstill. Along with businesses, the lack of revenue and pessimistic outlook for the coming months have made a bold scar on the face of the job markets. India’s unemployment rate in the month of March seemed to be inching towards 9 per cent, which was below 8 per cent in the previous months, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

A major blow has been received by the manufacturing sector that cannot operate on the ‘Work from Home’ method. Ironically, this sector generates maximum employment, majorly from the informal sector. The consequence of the closure of such manufacturing units was clearly visible by the huge number of migrant workers standing up in queues to board the first possible bus to their hometowns. The double-edged sword of joblessness and health hazard has made the future uncertain for many.

However, India is no exception to such tragic conditions prevailing in the economy. The world’s most powerful country, the US is also fighting tooth and nail to combat the coronavirus pandemic effect on their job market. The unemployment insurance weekly claims for the week ending March 21 was 32.83 lakh, which skyrocketed from 18.03 lakh in the previous week, according to the US Labor Department.

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“This large increase in unemployment claims was not unexpected and results from the recognition by Americans across the country that we have had to temporarily halt certain activities in order to defeat the coronavirus,” said  Eugene Scalia, Secretary of the US Labor Department. The hard impact of this on American workers was anticipated in the bill passed by the Senate, which provides hundreds of billions of dollars in unprecedented funding for traditional unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance, and one-time cash payments of $1,200 or more to Americans making $75,000 or less, he added.

Even as the governments of various countries, including India, are keeping provisions to safeguard and empower their workforces in this unfortunate time, no rigid outlook has been estimated so far as to analyse the potential extent of the virus is far from anybody’s calculation. Last week, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the outlook is now heavily contingent upon the intensity, spread, and duration of the pandemic and there is a rising probability that large parts of the global economy will slip into recession.

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First published on: 02-04-2020 at 18:46 IST