COVID -19 and the State of India’s Labour Market

This paper attempts to understand the effect of the COVID-19 shock on the labour market in India by examining the vulnerabilities of the workforce using data from the Periodic Labour
Force Survey (2018-19). With simply 24 % of the workforce engaged in regular wage salaried jobs offering a steady flow of income and a mere 2.2% in regular salaried jobs with a written job contract for a period of more than three years and access to all social security benefits, a disproportionately large share of the workforce is likely to face job and income losses as a consequence of the dual shock of the pandemic and lockdown. Further, we expect to see widening disparity in the labour market between the relatively less educated workers who predominantly work in informal work arrangements in sectors such as agriculture,