New Delhi: With gradual resumption in economic activity after over two months of nationwide lockdown, India added seven crore jobs in June, up from 2.1 crore new jobs in May, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
This improvement comes after more than 12 crore jobs were lost in April on account of the complete halt in economic activity, as India enforced a shutdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This led to many migrant labourers returning to their villages due to loss of livelihoods.
Most of the jobs added in June were in the categories of small traders and daily wagers, similar to trends shown in May. About 4.4 crore jobs were added in the daily wagers category, followed by 1.2 crore farmers, 1 crore businesses and 0.4 crore in the salaried class.
Mahesh Vyas, managing director and CEO of CMIE, said in a note that the progress of recovery of jobs has been the slowest among salaried employees, and added that a combination of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) scheme and increased kharif sowing has spurred the employment market in June.
In May, the government had announced an additional allocation of Rs 40,000 crore to the MGNREGA scheme to provide states funds to employ the returning migrant labourers.
“Evidently, as the lockdown is relaxed, small traders and wage labourers spring back into their trade fairly quickly. It is much easier for these to get back their employment because they are essentially self-employed. When the environment does not allow them to work — as during a lockdown — they lose employment instantly but when there is no lockdown, they quickly get back into their trade,” Vyas said.
“It may be safe to assume here that while their employment can spring back instantly, the same may not be said about their income. Besides, their recovery is still far from complete,” he said.
According to the CMIE, 1.77 crore salaried jobs were lost in April and 1.78 crore were lost in May. Of these, only 39 lakh salaried jobs were recovered in June.
“While jobs are returning, it is important that quality jobs also improve at the same pace if not a better pace than the other types of jobs,” Vyas said in his note.
The data further shows that despite the recovery in June, employment levels still remain far lower than 2019-20 — total employment this June was 37.4 crore, as against an average of 40.4 crore in 2019-20.
Economic activity has revived partially in June, but economists predict that the Indian economy will contract by at least 5 percent in 2020-21.
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