India’s unemployment rate surged to 27.11% for the week ended May 3 from the level of 6.74% in the week ended March 15, the data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed.
The data came in the midst of the ongoing nationwide lockdown in the country, which started from March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The unemployment rate had moderated to 21.05% in the previous week (which ended April 26) from 26.19 per cent in the week before. While the monthly unemployment rate in April 2020 stood at 23.52%, up from March’s 8.74%.
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%, as against 26.16% for the rural areas.
In the previous week ended April 26, the urban unemployment rate had stood at 21.45% and the rural unemployment rate at 20.88%.
“The estimated loss of employment between March and April 2020 is 114 million. Given that the total count of employed is around 400 million, the loss of 114 million implies that one in every four employed persons lost their jobs,” said Mahesh Vyas, managing director and CEO of CMIE.
Data for the first week of May indicates that the rate could climb further. This worsening should be expected as the lockdown continues to get prolonged. Employment in MSMEs and unorganised sector is expected to be hit sharply.