Over a longer time period, unemployment increased across the globe and covid-19 pandemic only added to the abysmal scenario, as per the latest surveys.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 114 million jobs were lost in 2020 compared to 2019.
A recent report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) which is sometimes used as a substitute for evaluating the health of the labour market shows that the unemployment spike is not confined to just urban centres. The national unemployment rate and rural joblessness too have gone up sharply in the past several weeks’ especially in the last fortnight.
While the national unemployment rate was 6.65% in the week ended March 28, it went up to 8.58% in the week ended April 11. Rural unemployment rose to 8% from 6.18% in the same period, as per the CMIE latest survey report. The informal sector has been already hit hardest along with retail and hospitality in the formal space. The reason for such a scenario is attributed by the economists to surge in covid-19.
While cases are only rising, it has started to pinch given the fact that the pandemic already hit the global economy hard, increasing poverty in practically every country, reducing employment and pulling people down from middle-income groups into low-income groups and in some cases to the brink of poverty.
Washington-based Pew Research Center in its report on March 18 this year and Oxfam’s report on inequality released earlier this year shine a light on economic travails as does this year’s Global Hunger Index rankings.
The World Bank says that the covid-19 pandemic caused an increase in extreme poverty last year, for the first time in 20 years. All these reports point out the ugly situation and more worse if the pandemic was allowed to a free run as is the case in contemporary times. Controlling the covid-19 pandemic is pivotal for revival of the various sectors including the tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. Ignoring it could prove disastrous. The present situation marked by a record number of cases every single day has been due to the irrational exuberance early in the present year. Government and people it seems had assumed that COVID-19 was over. The lapse is now hitting the revival and that too hardest. A key intervention would be to protect the labour force, ensuring vaccinations to all in industry and workplaces. Employers must ensure that all facilities as regards covid-19 behavior are ensured. On the other hand the government and public need to take measures needed, without wasting any further time, to stop the wildfire spread of the covid-19.