22% workers lost jobs amid lockdown in northern states: Survey

Researchers have found that 22 per cent workers lost their jobs and 31 per cent faced partial unemployment amid the lockdown in three north Indian states.

The focus group on business and economic policy research of University Business School (UBS) of Panjab University here has done an online survey for mapping the impacts of lockdown on employment in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

A team of three experts — Kulwinder Singh and Gunmala Suri, both from University Business School of Panjab University in Chandigarh, and Nirvair Singh from Punjabi University in Patiala conducted this study.

Based on analysis of data from 510 responses, the study revealed a devastating impact of lockdown 1.0 on employment scenario in the surveyed states.

They depicted that due to lockdown, 22 per cent workers lost their jobs and 31 per cent have had to face partial unemployment, which means they have either had to leave other side businesses or experienced decline in their income from a single job.

In the overall analysis, employment of 54 per cent workers has been hit hard by the nationwide lockdown in the surveyed states.

The informal sector has taken the brunt of the impact.

A staggering 80 per cent of workers in the informal sector faced unemployment of any kind.

51 per cent of workers in the informal sector lost their jobs and 30 per cent experienced partial unemployment.

The formal sector recorded 10 per cent full unemployment, while 30 per cent had partial unemployment.

The informal sector is the greatest sufferer from employment losses.

The survey has also analysed the lockdown’s impact in both urban and rural areas.

The lockdown has resulted in unemployment of 30 per cent rural workers as compared to 19 per cent urban ones. However partial unemployment is highest (32 per cent) in urban areas.

Kulwinder Singh said the study revealed that the informal sector was the greatest sufferer from employment losses.

Another worrying finding, he said, is that farmers faced the highest level of partial unemployment (38 per cent) followed by self-employed and salaried workers.

“What’s shocking is that casual workers (62 per cent) and self businessmen (48 per cent) faced maximum unemployment and were hit hardest by the corona crisis,” he explained.

The survey points out that both full (33 per cent) and partial (31 per cent) unemployment are highest among workers in the private sector.

The government sector produced unemployment of only 5 per cent workers. Younger workers lost more jobs as compared to older workers. Both full as well as partial unemployment are highest among male workers than female ones.

What’s more, both full and partial unemployment are highest among married workers, he said.

“Results of the study make a strong case for huge government support to the stakeholders who lost their jobs due to the impact of lockdown. Emphasis on MNREGA and direct employment allowances, subsidized food is also recommended.”

The study lays emphasis on employment generation schemes which will not only provide support to affected workers but also produce huge demand for goods and services which is required for building the confidence of industrialists and investors for initiating productive activities in the economy.