According to a private research firm, India’s unemployment rate may reach its highest in a year, with another 10 million jobs lost in May as states tightened restrictions to combat the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak. Managing Director Mahesh Vyas of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday that the country’s unemployment rate could rise to as high as 11% this month. That would be the highest since May 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown that wreaked havoc on the economy.
While Modi did not order a nationwide curfew this year, most states have implemented localised restrictions, causing economic disruption. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the country has been devastated by the second wave of coronavirus infections, with over 300,000 deaths and over 27 million infections.
“The damage it is causing to the economy is evident in the rise in unemployment,” said Vyas. “There are many dimensions which are very disturbing. The unemployment rate is rising even as the labor participation rate is declining, which means lesser people are seeking work and even those are not finding employment in adequate numbers.”
Weekly unemployment numbers are now hovering around 14 percent, according to CMIE data, which is based on surveys and widely accepted in the absence of timely government data. In April, it predicted more than 7 million job losses and an unemployment rate of around 8%.