Unemployment in rural areas spiralled to 14.34 per cent in the week ended May 16 from 7.29 per cent in the week ended May 9, according to the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). In other words, it has doubled within a week.
Rural unemployment is at a 50-week high, the last time it had touched a high was nearly a year ago, during the week ended June 7, 2020.
Similarly, urban unemployment climbed to 14.71 per cent, three percentage points more than a week ago, while the national unemployment rate soared to 14.45 per cent from 8.67 per cent, underlining an acute job crisis amid the second Covid wave.
According to the CMIE, the employment rate and labour force participation rate have come down significantly. At the all-India level, the employment rate has fallen to 34.67 per cent in the week ended May 16 from 37.72 per cent a week ago.
Economists said the high infection rate and lack of employment opportunities in urban clusters due to lockdowns forced people to leave for their villages. But in rural pockets, there aren't enough income opportunities.
Besides, rural lockdowns and curfews have left people jobless both in formal and informal sectors, and a lull in farm activity in May is adding to joblessness.