NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic had pushed the unemployment rates in India to an all-time high as millions of labourers were forced to migrate to their hometowns/villages, all businesses and shops were forced to shut down and companies were forced to make their employees work from home. However, bringing a respite, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has said that the unemployment rate in India has dropped to its lowest since the lockdown began, at 8.32 per cent. Interestingly, employment opportunities in India have risen despite a considerable loss of salaried jobs in the country. As the number of salaried jobs in India fell from 86 million in 2019-20 to 65 million in August 2020, more than 21 million people had lost their jobs by the end of August this year.
While urban India was struggling with the disruptions in businesses and industries, the hinterlands were believed to be driving India’s growth towards recovery by July. However, in the month of August, the hinterlands faced two major roadblocks — a fall in the number of MGNREGA workers and weak farm activities. The CMIE data had shown that the employment in farming fell by 0.5 million in August and job losses in the rural non-farming sectors were to the tune of 3.2 million.
Meanwhile, the labour force expanded in urban India but shrunk in rural India. Also, the employment and employment rate expanded in towns and shrunk in the country-side. While the unemployment rate rose in both regions, it rose more in rural India.