State’s unemployment rate drops to 8.8% in July

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped significantly to 8.8% in July compared to 21% in June, reflecting the improvement in employment prospects due to relaxations given during the two Unlock phases. With this, the unemployment rate has almost returned to that in the pre-lockdown period, according to the monthly data of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Jharkhand’s unemployment rate had shot up drastically after the nationwide lockdown came into effect from March 24 this year, when it increased from 8.2% to 47.1% in April due to the lockdown.

In May, the state recorded the highest unemployment rate at 59.2%. However, the situation improved after Unlock-1 began from June 1, when the unemployment rate stood at 21.0%. It further dropped to 8.8% under Unlock-2 in July.

State economists said Unlock activities have helped reduce the unemployment rate. However, the Kharif season has been the major rider, which gave a boost to economic activities just after beginning of Unlock activities.

Renowned economist and director-in-chief of Centre of Fiscal Studies, Jharkhand, Harishwar Dayal said, “People’s participation increased in agriculture activities with the beginning of Kharif season. Besides, rural development works, including MGNREGA, and infrastructure development activities have generated a decent number of jobs.”

State rural development minister Alamgir Alam recently said they have provided a record number of jobs under MGNREGA. Earlier, an average of three to 3.5 lakh workers used to get jobs under the scheme, which has now reached seven lakh, he said. Besides, a large number of people, including migrant workers, have also returned to agriculture activities.

Interestingly, the unemployment rate dropped more in urban areas compared to rural areas. The unemployment rate in urban areas for the month stood at 5.6%, while it was recorded at 9.9% in rural areas.

“Generally, migrant workers return to rural areas from urban areas during Kharif seasons to participate in agriculture activities. This is why unemployment rate is higher in rural areas,” Dayal said.

Moreover, Jharkhand’s unemployment rate has improved as compared to Bihar and Chattisgarh. The unemployment rate in Bihar for the month stood at 12.2%, while it was registered at 9.0% in Chattisgarh. However, the state still lags behind West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, where the unemployment rates stood at 6.8%, 5.5% and 1.9%, respectively in July.

Dayal said, “The data of CMIE is considered to be authentic, as they use scientific methodology in collecting the data.”

Unemployment rate in Jharkhand

Month Unemployment rate Urban Rural

March 8.2 16.4 5.0

April 47.1 61.5 41.7

May 59.2 70.2 55.1

June 21.0 19.4 21.5

July 8.8 5.6 9.9

(Source: Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Website)