Unemployment just below 8%, show latest CMIE figures

The business information company's portal says unemployment for February was 7.9% whereas Reuters has reported it at 7.78%

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 02 March 2020
Photo: istock

The unemployment rate in India jumped to 7.9 per cent, as of March 1, 2020 — up from 7.16 per cent in January 2020 — according to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

International news agency Reuters, however, reported that the think tank estimated the unemployment rate at 7.78 per cent. Even that rate would be the highest since October 2019.

Unemployment has been making news in India for quite some time. In May 2019, financial daily quoted leaked government data to report that joblessness in India was at its highest in more than four decades — ever since records started to be maintained. 

Data crunched in Down to Earth's annual SOE in Figures underscored that unemployment rate doubled to 7.6 per cent from 4 per cent between May 2017 and April 2019.

An unsure economy has not helped much. Several sectors have claimed intermittently that they still reeled from the effects of demonetisation (November 2016) and the introduction of the unified Goods and Services Tax regime in 2017. 

Former chief statistician Pronab Sen told DTE in October 2019 that the poor were no longer moving to higher income brackets and that the economic crisis was spurred by a decline in mobility since the demonetisation.

The economy has only weakened since then, clocking its slowest growth in six years in the three months through December 2019. A 5 per cent growth in India's gross doemstic product may be quite an ask now.

In December 2019, the unemployment rate had been 7.7 per cent. It had been 7.48 per cent in November 2019, according to CMIE.

The unemployment rate in rural areas increased in February 2020 to 7.37 per cent from 5.97 per cent in January. On the other hand, the rate in urban areas fell to 8.65 per cent from 9.70 per cent.

On January 20, 2020, the CMIE had released another report where it has said estimated the unemployment rate in rural India for September-December 2019 was 6.8 per cent.

Rural India accounted for 66 per cent of the overall estimate of India's unemployment rate, according to CMIE. The January report had also noted that unemployment among urban educated youth, was very high.

The unemployment rate in 2016 had been 47.1 per cent, 42 per cent in 2017 and 55.1 per cent in 2018, according to the report.

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