The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) delivers a shocker. When only on March 24, the State government had gone ecstatic over the CMIE's estimates that the State had only a 1-1.8 percent unemployment rate for the first two months of the current year, the March-end data released recently has come as a big dampener of sorts for the powers that be.
The country's private think tank has estimated the unemployment rate in the State in the month of March high at 9.7 percent.
As per the CMIE report, among the 19 major states in the country, Odisha has the fourth-highest unemployment rate.
The data accessed reveals a sharp rise in unemployment in both the rural and urban regions in the State. It further shows a near doubling of unemployment rate in the age group of 15-39 years. Moreover, the joblessness rate in the category of graduates and above had risen to around 10 percent.
The figures seem very disconcerting because the March unemployment figures in the State have been the highest since May 2020 - when the State and country as a whole were under strict Covid-19 lockdown.
The CMIE data shows that Odisha is the only State in the country to record such a quantum jump in the rate of unemployment from 1 percent in Feb 2022 to 9.7 percent in March.
Not only the unemployment rate has picked up sharply in the State, but the report has also documented a drop in workforce (total employed) in the State.
Odisha Vs Neighbours
The CMIE unemployment monthly data for the month of March shows that Odisha has the second-highest unemployment rate in its neighbourhood. Eastern neighbour Jharkhand topped the table with a rate of 14.5 percent. West Bengal has a rate of 5.6 percent and Andhra Pradesh has 9.2 percent unemployment rate.
In the neighbourhood, the March unemployment rate in Chhattisgarh had been the lowest. The CMIE estimated the rate at 0.6 percent.
Why March Tide?
As per the CMIE report, the rise in unemployment in the State could be attributed not only to the loss of jobs but also lack of opportunities in non-farm sectors like construction, mining and manufacturing.
First, take a glance at the respective sectoral contribution to employment in the State. Consider the following.
- Share of Agriculture in State's total employment generated stands at around 48 percent.
- The pie held by the non-farm sector like construction is19.53 percent.
- Contribution of manufacturing sector to employment at 6.61 percent
- Wholesale and retail trade share at 9.24 percent
- Mining only 0.16 percent.
In Odisha, a drop in employment in agriculture in the month of March has been observed. But the dip is attributed to farm lean season - means non-harvesting season - in the State. Kharif gives maximum employment to the unskilled workforce in the State. The Kharif season is from Jun - Dec (including the harvesting period).
As per the report, job engines in the State have recorded higher job losses in March. The details of the non-farm sectors that saw job shedding in Odisha are given below.
- Retail trade
The CMIE report has termed the job losses in manufacturing and retail trade as surprising. It said, "March is not the month where the cyclical downturn takes place in the said sectors. Therefore, the rise in unemployment and job losses hint at the uncertainty in the growth indicators of the economy."