India has seen over 15 million jobs lost during May 2021 with employment falling from 390.8 million in April 2021 to 375.5 million in May 2021, according to data from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
May 2021 is also the fourth consecutive month of a fall in employment. The cumulative fall in employment since January 2021 is 25.3 million, CMIE said on its website. April and May account for 22.7 million out of the 25.3 million. During these two months, India witnessed lockdowns of varying degrees for different durations in different regions due to the second wave of Covid-19.
However, the job loss in May 2021 is not as bad as the loss of 114 million in April 2020 but it comes second to only that draconian month of a complete nationwide lockdown, CMIE said. The May 2021 fall in employment is higher than the 12.3 million fall recorded in November 2016, the month of demonetisation.
The real estate and construction industry took the biggest hit in employment during April-May 2021. It saw employment shrink by 8.8 million on a base of about 64 million in March 2021. Most of the employment in this industry is informal.
Manufacturing industries took a hit of 4.2 million jobs on a base of 30 million. It is possible that most of these were in the medium and small scale industries, CMIE said.
Hotels and tourism took a hit of 4 million on a base of 22.5 million. And, wholesale and retail trade saw employment fall by 3.6 million from 58 million in March. These industries are also employers of large numbers of informally engaged labour.
As infections have started to decline, lockdowns may be eased in the near future. Some jobs may come back. But, recovery to the 2019-20 levels of 404 million jobs still seems very distant, CMIE said.