23.6L lost jobs during first Covid lockdown last year

23.6 lakh in non-farming sectors lost jobs during first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020

Construction and accommodation and restaurant sectors were worst hit

 The manufacturing sector saw the highest decrease of 14.2 lakh in employees. Credit: AFP File Photo

Around 23.6 lakh workers in nine core non-farming sectors are estimated to have lost their jobs between March and June last year, the first Covid-19 lockdown period, with a massive 60 per cent coming from the manufacturing sector, according to a government survey.

There were around 3.07 crore workers -- 2.17 crore men and 90 lakh women -- working in these sectors prior to lockdown imposed on 25 March, 2020 but the number of employees dwindled to 2.84 crore -- 2.01 crore men and 83.3 lakh women -- as on 1 July, 2020, according to the first Quarterly Employment Survey April-June 2021.

Around 16.6 per cent workers saw reduced wages while 2.7 per cent saw no wages. Construction and accommodation and restaurant sectors were worst hit. Only 34.2 per cent of the establishments in nine sectors -- manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurants, IT/BPOs and financial services -- were operational during lockdown while 26.7 per cent of the units saw a decrease in employees.

Read | Employment in 9 non-farm sectors at 3.08 crore in Apr-Jun, up by 29% from 2013-14

The survey released on Monday said it had attempted to collect the data on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the operational status of establishments, status of employment and impact on wages during the first nationwide lockdown last year.

The manufacturing sector saw the highest decrease of 14.2 lakh in employees --  from 1.25 crore to 1.11 crore. In the construction sector, the number of workers fell by around one lakh from 7.6  lakh to 6.6 lakh while in trade it was by 1.8 lakh -- from 20.6 lakh to 18.8 lakh. Education sector saw a decrease from 67.7 lakh to 64.9 lakh while in Health it was 25.6 lakh to 24.9 lakh and IT/BPOs from 19.9 lakh to 18.9 lakh.

The survey showed that the highest number of establishments operational during the lockdown were in the health sector (88.9 per cent) followed by the financial services sector (71.6 per cent). The education sector had the highest share (76.5 per cent) of non-operational establishments followed by accommodation and restaurants (72 per cent) and trade sectors (71.5 per cent).

When it comes to employment status, 26.7 per cent of the total establishments in the nine sectors saw a decrease in employment during the lockdown.

Manufacturing (38.1 per cent), construction (34.5 per cent) and accommodation and restaurants (34.3 per cent) and IT/BPOs (33.5 per cent) witnessed decrease in employment during March-June 2020 while employment in the financial services (84.5 per cent) and education (78.4 per cent) sectors remained largely unaffected by the impact of the restrictions.

Read | 'Revival of MSME sector can boost rural employment'

Around 3.8 per cent of the establishments showed an increase in employment during this period with the health sector registering highest at 7 per cent.

Around 80.7 per cent of the employees in these nine sectors got full wages during the period with health (90.7 per cent) and financial services (90.4 per cent) topping the list. Construction (66 per cent workers with full wages) and accommodation and restaurants (66.2 per cent with full wages) were worst in paying wages, as they were the sectors that were badly hit by the pandemic.

It was in the construction sector that the most number of workers did not get any wages -- 6.7 per cent of them did not receive a penny during the lockdown while 4.9 per cent in the accommodation and restaurants sector also did not receive any wages.

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