1.4 cr fewer Indians have jobs as against Jan ’20, finds study

MUMBAI:Although employment is recovering after the pandemic, it is still to return to pre-pandemic levels. Compared to January 2020, around 14 million or 1.4 crore fewer individuals were employed in October 2022, according to the latest CEDA-CMIE bulletin. This includes 4.5 million (45 lakh) fewer men and 9.6 million (96 lakh) fewer women.
The reports on the data were compiled and published by Ashoka University’s Centre for Economic Data and Analysis and Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. A compilation of the bulletins titled ‘The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on People’s Economic Lives’ was released on December 27, 2022. The data used is CMIE’s Consumer Pyramid’s Household Survey which examines how individual financial flows and employment were impacted by the pandemic.
In the latest bulletin, authors Preetha Joseph and Raashika Moudgill point out younger individuals (15-39 age) were hit harder by unemployment in the past three years.
By October 2022, around 20% fewer people in the 15-39 age group were employed compared to January 2020. That is a decline of 36.5 million. However, employment of people in the older age groups (40-59 years) rose by 12%. An additional 25 million individuals in this age group were employed in October 2022 as compared to January 2020.
“This is because a large section of the 15-39 age group is coming into the workforce. The older age group is retaining or returning to their previous jobs using existing skillset,” says Mahesh Vyas, MD and CEO of CMIE.
Urban employment in the past three years remained relatively stable following the initial lockdown months, the bulletin said. Changes in overall employment following the first lockdown was mainly affected by fluctuations in rural employment, it said.
The services sector, which employs around 147 million, remained the country’s largest employer but had yet to regain pre-pandemic employment levels, it said. Within services, wholesale and retail trade now employs over 70 million compared to 59 million in financial year 2018-19.
Employment in financial services grew 16.1% in 2021-22 compared to the previous year. Workforce in IT and ITES grew 11% between FY20-21 and FY21-22. The travel and tourism sector has seen work force shrink. Small traders and wage labourers continue to make up the largest share of employed workers. Farmers and entrepreneurs increased before and during the pandemic. There are 13 million more entrepreneurs in 2022 compared to 2018, the bulletin said.

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