The coronavirus pandemic has pushed all lives off-gear, with job losses and unemployment being at its peak among almost all sectors of the industry. According to a data report released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), 18.9 million salaried jobs have been lost amid the coronavirus pandemic since April. Moreover, five million of these were lost within the last month of July itself.
The salaried section involves most of the industrial, technology, and company divisions within India’s employment landscape.
The nation-wide lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in several companies across almost all sectors reducing their workforce through job cuts and layoffs.
“While salaried jobs are not lost easily, once lost they are also far more difficult to retrieve. Therefore, their ballooning numbers are a source of worry,” CMIE said.
CMIE data shows that 17.7 million salaried jobs were lost in April this year, while another 0.1 million jobs in May. June saw a recovery of 3.9 million jobs; however, an additional 5 million jobs were lost again in July this year. Only 21 per cent of all employment in India is in the form of a salaried employment.
CMIE’s data nevertheless displays a ray of hope for many of India’s workforce as there is an overall improvement in the employment rate since April. However, this too isn’t equal among all the sectors.
The glimmer of the home that appears from the data is within the informal sector though. “The recovery is largely in informal jobs. The situation has worsened for the relatively better jobs, i.e. salaried jobs. While jobs have recovered, this recovery has left out healthier, salaried jobs. In this sense it is an unhealthy recovery,” the CMIE report said.
The rural pockets – including farm jobs – have picked up after the lockdown. India’s unemployment rate, which was at a staggering 25% in May, has now dropped to a marginally better 9.61%. The rural India figure stands better – at 8.86%. A good monsoon season, along with the gradual opening of economic activities, has contributed to this growth. Employment through the central MNERGA has also benefitted rural India largely.
Additionally, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), almost 6.1 million youth – within the age of 18-24 – could lose their jobs if the containment of the virus takes prolonged time, i.e. beyond September 2020.
On the bright side, there has been an increasing buzz among various categories as several companies and technologies are looking to move to India for their operations, which in turn will create more employment among qualified salaried sections of India’s workforce.