In the first half of 2021-22, the share of urban employment was down to 31%. There was an improvement in October to 31.5%, but the rate has slid back to 31.2% in November 2021 indicating continuing weakness in urban jobs, informed Mahesh Vyas, MD and CEO, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). The urban jobs scenario continued to remain dull in November with employment in cities and towns falling by 0.9 million, as it increased in rural areas by 2.3 million in October. The country’s overall unemployment rate declined to 7% in November from 7.8% in October and the employment rate rose from 37.28% to 37.34%. India had a total of 400.8 million employment in October which rose to 402.1 million in November.
According to CMIE, during financial years 2016-17 to 2018-19, urban employment accounted for 32% of total employment in India. In 2019-20, before the pandemic, urban employment share dropped to 31.6%. In 2020-21, it fell to 31.3%. Urban jobs provide better wages and have a greater share of organised sectors. Their decline implies a decline in the overall quality of jobs in India, added Mahesh Vyas.
In November, salaried jobs fell by 6.8 million, while entrepreneurs declined by 3.5 million. These were compensated by an 11.2 million rise in employment among daily-wage labourers and small traders, pointing to a decline in the quality of employment. “Salaried jobs, at 77.2 million in November 2021, were 9.7% lower than in November 2019,” Vyas said.
The latest available results of the quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), conducted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), showed that the unemployment rate in urban India was 9.4% in January-March 2021 quarter, higher than 9.1% in the quarter year ago, just before the pandemic hit the country.