Covid-19 has been easing just a bit lately. However it continues to affect life and livelihood. Many precious lives have been lost to contagion while a huge number of people have been infected. Fresh cases have not stopped either. On June 2, Jammu and Kashmir reported 1718 new infections while 24 others succumbed to the virus. It has already stretched health care facilities. Also one key way in which this crisis is getting reflected is in the unemployment figures. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in the latest data showed that urban unemployment rate has soared to almost 18%, the highest in a year, as lockdowns and curtailed economic activity continued to hit the jobs environment across the country.
The CMIE report is sometimes used as a substitute for evaluating the health of the labour market and it 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 recently.
If one considers weekly data for May, urban unemployment rose from 10.08% in the week ended May 2 to almost 18% in the week ended May 30 .
The labour force participation rate (LFPR) and employment rate also fell in urban India. FPR dropped to 35.69% in the week ended May 30, against 37% in the week ended May 16, the CMIE data showed. However, rural unemployment fell four percentage points in the week ended May 30, from a fortnight ago, to 9.58%.
National joblessness dropped a little over two percentage points during the same period. As per the latest weekly data, the national unemployment rate stands at 12.15%
While covid-19 cases are only rising, it has started to pinch given the fact that the pandemic has 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.
The report points out the ugly situation and more worse will happen if the pandemic is not contained immediately. Controlling the covid-19 pandemic is pivotal for revival of the various sectors including the tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. The present situation seems to be reassuring but there should be no room for complacency. However the unemployment situation appears grim and new jobs are going to be very scarce even when the economy begins to recover. In such a scenario, there is an urgent need for measures to heal the economy and support those whose livelihood has been severely affected.