By Ruchi Bhatia
India’s unemployment rate dropped to a one-year low in September as joblessness in rural areas fell despite weak monsoon rains.
The overall joblessness rate slid to 7.09% last month, from 8.10% in August, data from private research firm Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed. That’s the lowest reading since September last year. Rural unemployment dropped to 6.20%, from 7.11% in August, while urban unemployment rate fell to 8.94% from 10.09% in the same period.
India recorded the weakest monsoon rains in five years, with the June-September rainfall about 6% less than the long-term average. Still, it did not impact much the agricultural activity in the country.
Urban joblessness also saw a dip ahead of the key festival season in India. Employers usually gear up on hiring — especially in the gig and contract employment segment — ahead of Diwali, the festival of lights in November.
Creating enough jobs for India’s 1.4 billion people remains a key task for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ahead of national elections due next summer. Last month, he distributed 51,000 appointment letters to new recruits as part of a special employment initiative amid discontent over rising joblessness.