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Ladies First! Not when it comes to losing jobs during second wave

The second wave of Covid-19 had led to the loss of jobs for greater number of urban men than women, implying a complete loss of livelihood for millions of households, stated the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.

According to CMIE’s MD and CEO Mahesh Vyas, the initial wave of Covid-19 resulted in the most disproportionate loss of jobs among urban women.

As per his analysis, urban women account for approximately 3% of overall employment, but they accounted for 39% of total job losses in the first wave of the pandemic. Of the 6.3 million jobs lost, urban women accounted for a loss of 2.4 million.

On the other hand, Urban women lost lesser employment during the second wave, Vyas noted. The brunt of employment losses shifted to males, with urban men losing a disproportionately greater number of positions from April to June 2021.

‘Urban males account for about 28 percent of the total employment in India. They accounted for a lower 26 percent 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 percent,’ Vyas said.

Typically, urban male occupations are of higher quality, and their disproportionate loss might suggest a larger wage drop than witnessed so far, he added.

It’s also likely that women are the household’s second earner, and thus losing a job for a woman usually means a drop in income rather than a full loss of revenue, according to Vyas.

‘But, a loss of job among men often implies complete loss of livelihood. This greater loss of urban male jobs is worrisome,’ he stated.

While many of the lost jobs will return, Vyas said that the current loss is significant, and the impact on the families who have suffered as a result of it cannot be represented in the impersonal numbers presented here, nor in the assurance that employment will return soon.

Many of those who were rehired or found new positions did so at reduced pay rates, he noted, and household incomes have decreased far more than employment.


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