19 lakh manufacturing jobs lost in August: CMIE
Nearly 19 lakh people lost jobs in August with the manufacturing sector the worst affected, according to the latest employment data released by a private research firm.
The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) figures show that the unemployment rate had climbed to 8.32 per cent in August after a brief spell of improvement.
The latest unemployment rate is similar to the post-lockdown figure of 8.35 per cent recorded by the CMIE around this time last year.
According to the CMIE data, the number of employed persons decreased from 39.97 crore in July to 39.78 crore in August, which indicates that 19 lakh people have lost their jobs over the past month.
The CMIE statistics show that the monthly unemployment rate in May this year was 11.9 per cent, with over 1.5 crore jobs lost that month. This was the period when the second wave of the pandemic was wreaking havoc in the country.
The unemployment rate had dipped in June and July but edged up again in August.
According to the latest data, over one million people engaged in the manufacturing sector lost their jobs in August and another 8 lakh in July. The number of employed persons in this sector decreased from 2.96 crore in June to 2.88 crore in July and 2.79 crore in August.
The job loss in the manufacturing sector was somewhat offset by gains in the service sector. Eight lakh jobs were added in retail, e-commerce, repair and technical support in August. Nearly 1.5 crore people were engaged in the service sector in August against 1.42 crore in July.
Labour economist Santosh Mehrotra said the unemployment situation was back to the level of the post-lockdown period in 2020.
Mehrotra pointed out that the decline in the job situation in the manufacturing sector had coincided with a rise in employment in agriculture between 2017-18 and 2020-21, adding to the crowding there and leading to cuts in wages.
“The unemployment crisis is the same as this time last year. According to the CMIE’s data, the share of agriculture in total employment was 35 per cent in 2017-18, which went up to 39.5 per cent in 2020-21. On the other hand, the share of the manufacturing sector in total employment dropped from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent during this period. When more workers are joining agriculture, which is already crowded, it will depress the wage rate, which is what is happening,” Mehrotra said.
He said the figures were incongruous with the government’s Make In India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.
The government’s Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2019-20 also bore out the employment glut in the agriculture sector. The share of agriculture in total employment rose from 57.8 per cent in 2018-19 to 61.5 in 2019-20 in the rural sector.
Mehrotra said a developing nation should aspire for a workforce shift from agriculture to manufacturing and services.
“The reverse is happening in India. The government’s slogans of Make In India and Atmanirbhar Bharat do not match the situation on the ground,” he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the biggest national issue was unemployment and alleged that the Modi government was “harmful for employment”, PTI reported.
Posting on Twitter a screenshot of the CMIE report, Rahul tweeted: “The Modi government is harmful for employment. It does not promote or support any kind of business or employment not belonging to friends and instead is trying to snatch jobs from those who have them.”
मोदी सरकार रोज़गार के लिए हानिकारक है। वे किसी भी प्रकार के ‘मित्रहीन’ व्यवसाय या रोज़गार को बढ़ावा या सहारा नहीं देते बल्कि जिनके पास नौकरी है उसे भी छीनने में लगे हैं। देशवासियों से आत्मनिर्भरता का ढोंग अपेक्षित है।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 3, 2021
जनहित में जारी।#Unemployment pic.twitter.com/rjvn0TyGaA
A pretence of self-reliance is expected from the people of the country, he said in his tweet in Hindi, adding: “Issued in public interest.”
In another tweet, Rahul said the biggest national issue was unemployment for which there were “some direct solutions — Don’t sell PSU-PSB, give monetary help to MSME, think about the country, not friends”.
सबसे बड़ा राष्ट्रीय मुद्दा बेरोज़गारी है जिसके कुछ सीधे समाधान हैं-— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 3, 2021
PSU-PSB मत बेचो
MSME को आर्थिक मदद दो
मित्रों की नहीं, देश की सोचो।
लेकिन केंद्र सरकार समाधान करना नहीं चाहती। pic.twitter.com/frWH8hGjzM
But the central government doesn’t want solutions, he added.