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Home >News >India >'Ominous': Urban men bear brunt of job losses in Covid second wave, finds CMIE

The gender distribution of job losses during the second wave showed an "ominous" trend, with potential impact on income levels, noted Mumbai-based think tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in a recent report. In contrast to the first wave of Covid-19, the second wave saw urban men losing the most jobs, while urban women suffered the least job losses, the report stated.

The report pointed out that nearly 90 per cent of the jobs are held by men, whereas the remaining 10 per cent employ women. Despite this fact, women accounted for 23 per cent of the loss of jobs a year after India was struck by Covid-19.

Going by CMIE's estimates, as of the quarter of March 2021, of the 399.7 million jobs, women accounted for only 41.8 million jobs. However, of the 6.3 million jobs lost in comparison to the corresponding period of preceding year, women accounted for 1.5 million lost jobs.

Of them, the most disproportionate loss of jobs because of the first wave of Covid-19 was suffered by urban women. Urban women account for about three per cent of total employment, but they accounted for 39 per cent of total job losses during the first wave. Of the 6.3 million jobs lost, urban women accounted for a loss of 2.4 million.

This is not how it played out in the second wave, CMIE pointed out, the bulk of job losses was borne by urban men.

"During the April-June 2021 quarter, a disproportionately higher loss of jobs was incurred among urban males. Urban males account for about 28 per cent of the total employment in India. They accounted for a lower 26 per cent of the loss of jobs till March 2021. But, in the quarter ended June 2021 their share in total job losses was higher at 30 per cent," CMIE said in its report.

"Arguably, urban male jobs are the better quality jobs and their disproportionate loss could imply a greater fall in income than witnessed so far," it further added.

Considering that women are the second earning member in a family, CMIE stated that the loss of jobs among women more often than not implies a fall in income but not a complete loss of income.

"But, a loss of job among men often implies complete loss of livelihood. This greater loss of urban male jobs is worrisome," CMIE pointed out.

Factoring the condition that the effects of Covid-19 pandemic had become evident by March 2020, CMIE stated that employment quarter ended March 2020 was 406 million. For the quarter ended March 2021, employment levels dipped to 399.7 million.

"Therefore, one year after the onset of Covid, India was left with a shortfall of 6.3 million jobs. Note that this is not the loss of jobs during the year of the Covid pandemic. That is a much bigger number," the report said.

"Many of the lost jobs came back... We find that all jobs could not be recovered. The net shortfall is of 6.3 million jobs implying a loss of 1.5 per cent of the jobs," it added.

While a lot of jobs came back, the current loss is still huge, CMIE stated. "Many of those who got their jobs back or found alternate jobs got these at lower wage rates. Household incomes have fallen a lot more than employment has."

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