India's unemployment rate remained high at 23.5% in May 2020, same as April, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, according to weekly data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). However, owing to better and improved market conditions in May, 21 million people got jobs in the said month, the data added.
The report added that the labour participation rate "improved from 35.6 per cent to 38.2 per cent and the employment rate improved from 27.2 per cent to 29.2 per cent."
It further stated that the main labour market metrics "indicate an improvement in May when compared to April however, the labour market conditions continue to remain much weaker than they were before the coronavirus-induced lockdown over two months ago.
Comparing the "Compared to the 404 million people employed, on average, in 2019-20, employment in May 2020 was 303 million. Over 100 million people were still out of jobs compared to employment in 2019-20.
CMIE pointed in the report that nonetheless, there has been a marked improvement in the overall situation in April 2020 "when employment had fallen to 282 million implying a loss of nearly 122 million compared to the average employment in 2019-20."
"Between April and May 2020, while the count of those employed increased by 21.2 million, the count of unemployed also increased by 6.3 million. The labour force increased substantially, by 27.5 million," it highlighted.
Pointing out towards the share of small traders and wage workers in the total share of 21 million, the report underlined that "of the 21 million jobs that got added in May, 14.4 million were of small traders and wage labourers, a massive increase of 39%," adding that they are the most vulnerable to the lockdown. This workforce comprises around a third of the total employed population in India and on April 7 per cent of them had lost jobs, the CMIE report enunciated.
"Salaried jobs are relatively difficult to get. And salaried jobs lost during a lockdown are far more difficult to recover. These are also the better jobs. The continued loss of good quality jobs is therefore worrisome," CMIE underlined in the report.