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India's Unemployment Rate In May Stays At 23%

Olga Robert

In May, India's unemployment rate rose to 23.48 percent, which is marginally lower than 23.52 percent in the previous month, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) on Monday.

The Mumbai-based think tank's survey data shows that the unemployment rate for the whole month of May in urban India was at 25.79 percent and at 22.48 percent in rural areas.

The joblessness rate continues to remain in double digits for the second straight month as the nationwide lockdown, to curb the spread of COVID-19, diminished work opportunities as economic activity declined sharply.

The rate of 23.52 percent in April was the highest since the survey began in 2016, with 24.95 percent of the labour force without work in urban India and 22.89 percent in rural India.

In comparison, the unemployment rate in March stood at 8.74 percent: 9.35 percent in urban India and 8.45 percent in rural India.

The CMIE Unemployment Survey has become the proxy for evaluating the state of the labour market in the country since its inception. The labour force consists of employed persons and persons who are unemployed but actively looking for jobs. The survey includes a sample size of 43,600 households per month disturbed well across urban and rural areas.

Meanwhile, on Monday, survey data released by IHS Markit showed that India's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) was recorded at 30.8 for the month of May, which is the second straight month of contraction after the all-time low of 27.4 seen in April. A recording below 50 means contraction in the economy.

Further, after 29 May's government data showed a 3.1 percent GDP growth for the March ended quarter, the slowest in 8 years, a Reuters poll said that the Indian economy is expected to contract for the April-June quarter, for the first time since the 1990s.

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