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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: In the midst of COVID gloom, doom days seem prevailing in Odisha's employment market. Jobseeker count reaches a new high, but count of job providers shrinks to a record low in the State.

A job conundrum of enormity is now staring at the State. Jobseekers in the State have grown by nearly a humongous 814 per cent in April 2020 vis-a-vis November 2019; whereas the job providers list saw a jaw-dropping fall of nearly 97 per cent during the same period.

As per data available with Union Labour Ministry, the number of employers in Odisha who have registered with the central government's national career service, saw a sharp drop by April end.

Hands Many, Handholders few

A total of 649 employers have registered in Odisha during the month of November 2019. But as COVID's firm grip over the State and country continued and lockdowns were enforced to contain it's wildfire like spread, the registered employer numbers dropped to mere 21 by April 2020.

On the contrary, with huge job shedding in many sectors following lockdown, the count of jobseekers in the State saw a big spurt in April this year. The data reveals total jobseeker registration in Odisha during November 2019 at mere 3,006. But the count in April has touched a whopping 27,471.

The Big Fallout

In such a hard-pressed scenario, the direct fallout is on the job postings in the State. From a high of 221 job postings in December 2019, the job offers have declined to mere 73 in April 2020.

While the earlier economic slowdown has impacted job prospects in a big way in State's manufacturing and mining sector, and with the lockdown giving a blow to education activities in the State, the education sector in the State have seen a big drop in job postings. Education sector has been the largest job provider in the formal sector.

Moreover, job offers in sectors like information and communication and in services sectors other than finance and insurance, have seen a downturn. The job buoyancy in wholesale and retail trade sector in Odisha was also hit by COVID crisis.

Options Before Odisha in COVID times?

With the country and the State witnessing a major crisis, the job prospect seems bright in health and wellness sector.

Since both the centre and State are now focussing and investing more resources in the health sector, job offers in the health sector in the state may see a boost.

Health is the second-most job provider in the State, especially in the formal sector after education. Both government and private sector can together create more job opportunities in the health sector.

Administrative Services: With private sector taking a backseat in job creation, and as the role of State administration has seen a quantum leap in the growing COVID times, the job postings in the sector could be ramped up to absorb the rush of jobseekers in the State.

The Bottom line

Hit by an acute unemployment crisis owing to COVID blow, and when lockdown norms are being gradually eased down, an urgent focus on sectors like health, education, information & communication, administrative and other services sectors seems the need of the hour.

Also Read: Odisha tops country in youth unemployment rate during Jan-Mar 2019: NSO

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