Unemployment rate is still at double digits across 10 states
Other than Haryana and Rajasthan which have reported 19.7% and 15.3% unemployment rate, joblessness is also high in Delhi (12.5%), Himachal Pradesh (12%), Uttarakhand (22.3%), Tripura (17.4%), Goa (15.4%) and Jammu & Kashmir (16.2%), according to the September monthly data of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.Updated: Oct 20, 2020, 03:29 IST
Despite an overall fall in joblessness across India, at least 10 states including fairly industrialized ones like Haryana and Rajasthan are still reporting double-digit unemployment.
Other than Haryana and Rajasthan which have reported 19.7% and 15.3% unemployment rate, joblessness is also high in Delhi (12.5%), Himachal Pradesh (12%), Uttarakhand (22.3%), Tripura (17.4%), Goa (15.4%) and Jammu & Kashmir (16.2%), according to the September monthly data of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
Bihar, where Assembly polls are due soon, has an unemployment rate of 11.9%, which is likely to figure in the election campaign. The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal-led grand alliance has already made jobs part of its election agenda with a promise to create 1 million jobs if voted to power.
Besides, two large states, West Bengal (9.3%) and Punjab (9.6%), have near double digit joblessness. By comparison the national rate was 6.67% in September—significantly lower than 23.52% in April and 21.73% in May.
Experts and economists argue the pickup in jobs is patchy and demand in the market is still low, with industrial hubs yet to return to their normal self despite near universal relaxation in lockdowns.
“There are broadly three factors—the seasonal lack of jobs post the summer crop sowing and its harvesting, possible low job creation by national rural employment guarantee scheme after a good few months to support the larger number of reverse migrants, and third, both service and industrial sectors not returning to full-blown normalcy due to lack of demand in the market,” said K.R. Shyam Sundar, a labour economist and professor at XLRI Jamshedpur.
“The recent announcement by the finance minister and nudge to government employees to spend is a clear indication that there is lack of demand and the government is eager to increase demand in a festive season and thus boost the economy. There is a gradual rebound in the industrial sector, but I believe we are still some time away from a better situation. The MMSE sector in states like Haryana and Rajasthan are yet to go back to normalcy,” he said.
Sundar said employment in Himachal, Uttarakhand, Goa and J&K is largely driven by tourism and hospitality. “But these sectors are the worst hit. And the dullness in allied sectors like transport, entertainment, retail and restaurant business is contributing to the high unemployment rate. And if you take Delhi-NCR, you know the service sector is well-battered there too,” he said, adding that blue-collar hiring in the festive season cannot compensate for the huge, pandemic-induced jobs crisis.
He, however, said that employers in the bigger cities and industrial hubs are keen to bring back migrants in the hope of a rebound.