Unemployment rate increases in October, driven by drop in rural employment

by ~ Trinanjan Chakraborty

The unemployment rate in the country went up to 6.98% in October from 6.67% in the previous month, data released by the independent thinktank Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has shown. The increase in unemployment in Oct’20 was led by rural – with the rural unemployment increasing sharply to 6.90% from 5.86% in Sep’20. The urban unemployment though declined from 8.45% in the preceding month to 7.15% in Oct’20.

With the lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic in full effect in April and May, the unemployment rate had shot up to unprecedented levels. But with the gradual easing of restrictions, the unemployment has come down in the subsequent months and in the last two months, has been below the level of March (pre-lockdown).

Among the large states, the unemployment rate in Oct’20 was worryingly high in Rajasthan (24.1%) and Haryana (27.3%). Some of the other large states with unemployment rate above the all India levels were: West Bengal (10.0%), Bihar (9.8%) and Jharkhand (11.8%), besides the UT of J&K (16.1%). The rate of unemployment was well below the national average in most of the southern states: Karnataka (1.6%), Tamil Nadu (2.2%), Telangana (2.9%), Kerala (3.9%) with Andhra Pradesh at 6.6%. The unemployment rate was also comparatively lower in the bigger states of UP (3.8%), MP (3.1%) and Maharashtra (4.1%). Among the smaller states, Tripura (11.6%), Goa (11.5%) and Himachal Pradesh (13.5%) had high unemployment in October.

NB: All data quoted in this article is from Unemployment Report for October’20 released by CMIE.

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