Amid suspended economic activity to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s unemployment rate surged to 27.11 per cent for the week ended May 3 from the level of 6.74 per cent in the week ended March 15, the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed. Unemployment rate had moderated to 21.05 per cent in the previous week (which ended April 26) from 26.19 per cent in the week before.
The Mumbai-based think tank said the rate of unemployment was the highest in the urban areas, which include the majority of the red zones due to the COVID-19 cases, at 29.22 per cent, as against 26.16 per cent for the rural areas. In the previous week ended April 26, the urban unemployment rate had stood at 21.45 per cent and the rural unemployment rate at 20.88 per cent.
As per CMIE’s data, the monthly unemployment rate in April stood at 23.52 per cent, up from March’s 8.74 per cent.
CMIE’s weekly series of data pointed to a steady increase in unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, with the week to March 29 showing the sharpest spike to 23.81 per cent.
With the imposition of nationwide lockdown on March 24, economic activity has taken a hit, with most analysts and economists now predicting a possible contraction of the country’s GDP for this financial year. Employment in MSMEs and unorganised sector is expected to be hit sharply.
State-wise data shows that as of April-end, Puducherry had the highest number of unemployment at 75.8 per cent, followed by neighbouring Tamil Nadu 49.8 per cent, Jharkhand 47.1 per cent and Bihar 46.6 per cent. Maharashtra’s unemployment rate was recorded at 20.9 per cent, while the same for Haryana stood at 43.2 per cent, Uttar Pradesh at 21.5 per cent and Karnataka at 29.8 per cent, CMIE data showed.
Hilly states had the lowest incidence of unemployment as of April-end, with the unemployment rate in Himachal Pradesh at 2.2 per cent, Sikkim at 2.3 per cent and Uttarakhand at 6.5 per cent, the data showed.