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COVID takes big toll in Odisha: 33 lakh rendered unemployed in April!

Among 21 major states, Odisha now has the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country. The other states are Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana and Karnataka, says CMIE report

Bhubaneswar: COVID toll on Odisha seems big. Unemployment rate in the State has zoomed to a high of 23.8 per cent in April, which means nearly two in every ten in Odisha now have no job at hand. The joblessness rate in March was estimated at 13.1 per cent.

The unemployment rate in April is highest ever in Odisha, since the year 2016. Last year, the unemployment rate in the State during the month of April was at 6.4 per cent. The joblessness rate this year has nearly quadrupled.

Among 21 major states, Odisha now has the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country.

CMIE Unemployment Report

Odisha is not the lone state in the country to face the COVID axe on the jobs. Unemployment rate has risen faster in other states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Haryana. The unemployment rate in Bihar is estimated at a high of 46.6 per cent, Jharkhand at 47 per cent, TN at 49.8 per cent and Haryana at 43.2 per cent. The UR in Karnataka was 29 per cent in April.

Even, the unemployment rate for the country in the month of April has risen to 23.5 per cent from 8.7 per cent in March. The national unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent in February.

The prevalence of such a high distress in Odisha job scenario during the lockdown period has been revealed by the country’s leading private economic think tank, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

As per CMIE, the unemployment rate in February in Odisha was 3.1 per cent. The rate ballooned to 13.1 per cent in March, when the State saw lockdown for mere 10-days. It increased by 10.7 points in the complete lockdown month of April.

The CMIE has attributed the abnormal rise in joblessness in the State and the country to the cessation of all economic activities following imposition of lockdown since March 22.

Why Joblessness rate zoomed in Odisha?

It has been observed that the districts in the State that had a higher share in employment were worst hit by COVID.

For instance, cities like Bhubaneswar and districts like Jajpur, Balasore and Sundergarh that provide employment in the range of 2.5 -4.9 lakh have the maximum containment zones in the State.

Job centres in odisha
Source: NSSO and IMA

Moreover, as the informal sector enterprises in Odisha account for nearly 70 per cent of employment, and as the sector has borne the brunt of lockdown, the reflection is almost crystal clear on the unemployment data.

A look at the employment profile in the State shows the labour force participation rate in the State stood at around 41 per cent. In absolute value, CMIE estimates the labour force in the State at over 1.4 crore. The total persons unemployed in the State at the end of 2019 is estimated at around 6.39 lakh, when the unemployment rate in the State stood at 4.34 per cent.

Given the scale of spike in unemployment rate in April this year, experts in CMIE estimate the total jobless in Odisha ballooning to a whopping around 33 lakh by April end.

Historically seen, Odisha always recorded a double digit unemployment rate in the age-group of 15 – 24 years. The rates in the beginning of the year 2020 stood at 12.62 per cent in the age-group of 15-19 years and 18.09 per cent in the age-group of 20-24 years.

As per CMIE analysis across the nation, the sudden spike in the unemployment rate is attributed to higher unemployment rate in the age-group of 25-44 years. The reason is COVID enforced lockdown.

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