Mumbai: Jobs are returning in India as the economy recovers from lockdown-related losses, according to the head of a top staffing firm.
Quess Corp., which claims to be India's largest private-sector employer providing staffing services to companies, saw its workforce rise in October for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. Its numbers had dropped by 55,000 to 325,000 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a vast and sudden lockdown in March.
"We are seeing a rebound definitely in the employment market," Ajit Isaac, Quess chairman, said . "We expect to finish this year close to where we were at the beginning of the year. That is an indication of how the economy is going. I think the worst is over."
A record 122 million people went jobless in April due to Modi's shelter-at-home rules, which probably tipped India into an unprecedented technical recession though high-frequency indicators now signal a revival. The government is due to publish gross domestic product data for July-September on Friday, and the central bank, which has slashed interest rates, is scheduled to review policy next week.
Some easing up
India's unemployment rate eased to 6.98 per cent in October from as high as 23.5 per cent in April, according to private research firm Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Isaac echoed the figure, saying the rate will return to pre-COVID-19 levels of 6-7 per cent with the construction and real estate sectors fueling demand for jobs.
He added that almost 60 million people have returned to their work spots, or half of the internal migrants who had left the cities and trudged back to their village homes when Modi announced the strict lockdown.
"Almost 90 per cent of the companies that had job cuts are now going back to pre-COVID-19 level salaries," he said. "We are in for a period of significant growth in India in the next four quarters."