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Unemployment rate at 15-week high of 8.58%

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Urban unemployment rate had fallen to 7.21% for the week ended April 4 from 8.84% for the week ended January 31.

India’s unemployment rate galloped to a 15-week high of 8.58% for the week ended April 11, largely due to a sudden 260 basis points rise in the urban unemployment rate to 9.81% over the week.

Rural unemployment, however, eased to 8% for the week ended April 11 from 8.58% in the previous week, data put out by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed.

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Urban unemployment rate had fallen to 7.21% for the week ended April 4 from 8.84% for the week ended January 31.

CMIE managing director and CEO Mahesh Vyas would not hazard a guess as to what led to the sudden spike in the urban unemployment rate in just a week’s time. However, he said, “We should worry about the future.”

After the government imposed a lockdown towards the end of March last year as the pandemic hit, the country’s unemployment rate started picking up and rose to its peak of 27.11% for the week ended May 3 last year.

It then fell to 4.66% on January 17 this year, but again went up to 8.16% for the week ended April 4, coinciding with the rapid spike in the fresh Covid-19 cases. In recent weeks, the peak was on December 27 at 9.5%.

In a fast-spreading second wave, the country has recorded more than 9.37 lakh cases for the week ended April 11 — the highest weekly tally since the beginning of the pandemic last year. It is widely expected that the second wave will have a far more damaging impact on the job market and thus, unemployment rate will again go up in the coming weeks.

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