Bihar's unemployment rate on the rise, much higher than all-India average: CMIE

New Delhi: Bihar’s unemployment rate is on the rise and stood much higher than the all-India average even during the pandemic suggesting households in the state would have been severely hurt during the stringent lockdown, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said.

“Bihar was among the worst affected states in terms of unemployment during the lockdown. This is very surprising because it is a relatively much poorer state and its households therefore cannot afford to remain unemployed,” CMIE said in its weekly analysis.

“Very high unemployment rate in very poor states is a serious double whammy. The stringent lockdown must have hurt Bihar households very severely,” it said.

CMIE data shows that while the unemployment rate in the state averaged 46% during April and May, the peak months of the lockdown, the all-India unemployment rate in the same period was 24%. Though the unemployment rate in the state has since then come down to 12%, it is much higher than the all-India estimate of 6.7% at the same time.

“Unemployment has been rising in Bihar steadily. More importantly, it has been rising at a faster rate than the unemployment rate in India. The situation seems to have turned for the worse from 2018,”CMIE said.

According to CMIE, the unemployment rate in Bihar was lower than the all-India average in 2016 and in 2017 . “Since 2018, it has been consistently higher and the gap between the two has been widening,” it said.

Even the employment rates in the state are abysmally low with only one in three adults employed. CMIE says the employment rate in Bihar stood at 33.8% in September 2020 compared to national average of 38% while it averaged only 30% in the June-August period when it was 37% for the country.

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“Unemployment itself is a misery that in society is often associated with the failure of the unemployed rather than it being seen as a macroeconomic problem that governments need to address,” CMIE said, adding that poll promises of permanent government jobs in the state raises the chances of many aspirants to realise their lifelong dream. Prior to the lockdown, Bihar provided over 26 million jobs with 20 million non-farm jobs.



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