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July job loss rate at pre-Covid levels

India’s overall unemployment rate fell to 7.43% in July from 10.99% in June, and even lower than the March figure of 8.75%, according to a survey by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Updated: Aug 05, 2020 03:12 IST

By Prashant K Nanda, Livemint

With coronavirus cases soaring in March, India went into a stringent lockdown beginning March 25 to curb infections, triggering misery and mass unemployment. (REUTERS)

Joblessness in July cooled to pre-Covid-19 levels as crop planting gathered pace following bountiful rains and more economic activities resumed, marking the end of the unemployment crisis triggered by the coronavirus curbs.

India’s overall unemployment rate fell to 7.43% in July from 10.99% in June, and even lower than the March figure of 8.75%, according to a survey by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

With coronavirus cases soaring in March, India went into a stringent lockdown beginning March 25 to curb infections, triggering misery and mass unemployment.

Among states, Odisha and Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate of 1.9% each in July, followed by Meghalaya (2.1%). Haryana had the highest unemployment rate of 24.5%, followed by Delhi 20.3% and Himachal Pradesh 18.6%, the CMIE data released on Tuesday showed. Rural unemployment fell to 6.6% in July from 10.52% in June; however, urban unemployment rate at 9.15% in July against 12.02% in June remained stubbornly above both national and rural figures. According to CMIE, urban joblessness was 25.79% in May and 24.95% in April. In contrast, nationwide joblessness was 7.16-8.19% between August 2019 and February 2020.

The fall in the unemployment rate is largely attributed to a good monsoon and better sowing season in rural India as well as the gradual opening of most activities, including self-employment, in both rural and urban centres.

“Decent jobs and formal sector job creation are very slow as the pandemic has hit businesses and recovery will take time,” said Arup Mitra, a professor of economics at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi.

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