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Omicron effect? Unemployment rate spikes to four-month high in December 2021

The latest spike seems to be linked to the Omicron-driven Covid surge, according to Yeshab Giri, chief commercial officer - staffing at HR consultancy firm Randstad India. 

Published: 04th January 2022 02:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2022 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  India’s unemployment rate touched a four-month high of 7.91% in December 2021 against 7% in November and 7.75% in October, data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) on Monday showed. Urban unemployment rate was 9.30% in December while it was 7.28% for rural areas. In November, the figures were 7% and 8.21%, respectively. 

The last time the unemployment rate soared was in August 2021, at 8.3%. The latest spike seems to be linked to the Omicron-driven Covid surge, according to Yeshab Giri, chief commercial officer - staffing at HR consultancy firm Randstad India. 

“Due to rising Omicron cases, many employees have reverse-migrated to their home towns. Restricted attendance in offices could be the cause of stalling in the hiring plans of many companies across sectors,” said Giri, adding that the overall consumer sentiment has also fallen as people prefer to stay at home.

Sounding optimistic, he said this is a temporary phase.

“Many companies are gearing up to function at pre-pandemic levels and offering greater incentives along with a safe working environment to employees,” he added. 

December usually sees a slowdown in hiring, as the festive season winds down and picks up somewhat during the last week, pointed out Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president at staffing firm TeamLease Services.

She, however, does not think that Omicron influenced the jobless rate as it was only in the last week of December the country saw a spike.

“Besides a natural winding down, there won’t be any knee jerk downgrade in hiring,” she added. 

CMIE’s unemployment data is closely watched as the government doesn’t release monthly figures.

Joblessness in states

Among states, Haryana witnessed the highest jobless rate in December at 34.1%, followed by Rajasthan (27.1%), Jharkhand (17.3%, Bihar (16%), J&K (15%), and Tripura (14.7%).



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