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More Men Withdrew from Labour Force as India's Unemployment Rate Became Highest During Lockdown: Report

Representative image for jobs.

Representative image for jobs.

India’s urban unemployment rate was above 20 percent, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) findings for the quarter ending June 2020.

While unemployment rate was higher for women in absolute terms, the proportional increase in unemployment was higher for men between the March 2020 and June 2020 quarters.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the participation rate for women did not fall on a year-on-year basis in the quarter ending June 2020.

The Urban labour force participation rate (LFPR) in the quarter ending June 2020 was 55.5 percent for men, the lowest since June quarter of 2018 (56 percent). This number was 56.7 percent in the quarter ending March 2020 and 56.3% in the quarter ending June 2019.

The 68-day long nationwide hard lockdown which was imposed from March 25, 2020 pushed India’s urban unemployment rate above 20 percent, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) findings for the quarter ending June 2020.

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The Hindustan Times report further concludes that the lockdown’s adverse impact on jobs hurt the poorest workers (casual workers) the most. The share of casual workers in the urban economy, which has been around the 12 percent mark, fell to just 6.3 percent in the quarter ending June 2020.

The highest increase in unemployment rate was in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.

The states that saw the least increase in unemployment are Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam.

Meanwhile, bolstered by improved domestic demand, India’s services sector expanded for the fourth consecutive month in January as business activities quickened and rising business optimism looked set to sustain the growth momentum. The seasonally-adjusted India Services Business Activity Index rose from 52.3 in December to 52.8 in January, pointing to a quicker expansion in output.

The index was above the critical 50 mark that separates growth from contraction for the fourth month in a row during January. Though the pace of growth accelerated from December, the headline figure remained below its long-run average of 53.3 and was consistent with a moderate pace of growth.

first published:March 12, 2021, 08:37 IST