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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • In just a month's time, a massive over 7 lakh have lost their jobs in the State

  • The number of unemployed in the State had increased by nearly 1.24 lakh during the quarter ended April 2021vis-a-vis the previous quarter of September - December 2020

  • It has been observed that the districts that had a higher share in Odisha's employment chart had been the worst hit by the second Covid-19 wave

With the lockdown being brought back since May 5 to cut the rapid transmission of coronavirus in Odisha, the shocker has been in just a month's time a massive over 7 lakh have lost their jobs in the State.  

As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy's (CMIE) latest data, the unemployment rate in Odisha was mere around 2 per cent (1.9%) in April. However, by May-end, following the enforcement of the lockdown in the State, the unemployment rate in the State has shot up to touch 7 per cent. Among the list of 28 states, Odisha has been among the top-5 states where the rate of unemployment have posted a sharp rise vis-a-vis the previous month.

Due to this sharp rise in the rate of unemployment in the month of May, an estimate reveals that in the last month (May) a whopping over 10.09 lakh had no jobs at hand as against mere 2.76 lakh in April.

Significantly, such a blow to job creation has come at a time when during the first quarter of the year ended in April 2021, the number of unemployed in the State had increased by nearly 1.24 lakh vis-a-vis the previous quarter of September - December 2020.

Rising Unemployment In Odisha
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.

However, when cut to January to April 2021. The unemployment rate had shot up sharply to 35.46 per cent and 14.91 per cent, respectively, in the age-groups.

The Devil In Details
The quarterly unemployment data released by CMIE reveals that during the quarter ended in April 2021, the number of active jobseekers in Odisha had posted a rise in the age-group of 15-29 years age group. The data further shows a high of 2.14 lakh active jobs seekers in the age-group of 20-24 years. In the previous quarter ended on December 2020, the unemployed in the age group were mere 78,000.

Similarly, a sharp rise has been observed in the age-groups of 15-19  years and 25-29 years. The number of unemployed in the age-groups in year 2021 has risen to 41,000 and 60,000, respectively. In contrast, the numbers were 11,000 and 38,000, respectively, in the previous quarter ended on December 2020. 

Moreover, the labour force participation rate in the State which has grown to around 41 per cent of the job-seeking population in the State during April has again dipped to around 39 per cent in May.

The dip in labour force participation rate implies the prevalence of destituteness among the job-seeking active populace in the State, feel experts at CMIE.  

Why The High Job-shedding?
An analysis of the district-wise data nails the prime cause. It has been observed that the districts that had a higher share in Odisha's employment chart had been the worst hit by the second Covid-19 wave.

For instance, cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and industrial districts like Sundergarh, Jharsuguda etc that provide employment in the range of 2.5 -4.9 lakh were the worst hit in the second wave surge in the State.

Also, 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, it reflection is almost crystal clear on the unemployment data. A steep rise in joblessness has been recorded in the group having educational qualification below the 12th standard.

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

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