Even as the nationwide lockdown is yet to end and the wounds of migrant labourers are still fresh, the workers have started to come back to the job market. Financial uncertainty and the poor living conditions amid coronavirus lockdown have forced the labourers to start hunting for jobs at earliest. A fairly large chunk of labour that had technically left the labour markets in April is returning back, according to CMIE. The labour participation rate (LPR) had dropped 6.3 percentage points from 41.9 per cent in March to 35.6 per cent in April, however, it has improved significantly in May.
The LPR has been rising almost consistently week-after-week in the month and it has reached 38.8 per cent by the week ended May 17, indicating a recovery of nearly half the loss in April. On the other side, the employment rate has continued to stand at a very high level of nearly 24 per cent throughout the lockdown, though, it is stable. A stable unemployment rate and a rising labour participation rate imply an increase in the employment rate, CMIE added.
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However, the sky-high unemployment rate may take a long time to come back to the normal. The unemployment rate has risen from 8.8 per cent in March to 23.5 per cent in April. Immediately after the lockdown was announced, factories shut down and businesses came to a standstill, which led to mass unemployment in April. The labour force had shrunk by 6.8 crores from 43.7 crores in FY20 to 36.9 crores in April.
Considering the woes of the migrant workers and the difficulty they had to face altogether, various state governments are stepping up to the welfare of the workers. Recently, UP CM Yogi Adityanath has announced to set up a labour welfare commission to provide social security to the states’ workers. He said that the government will do the skill mapping and will also provide insurance to them. He had also slammed the states which misbehaved with the migrant workers.