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Coronavirus lockdown: India jobless numbers cross 120 million in April

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BBC

India recorded 5,242 new cases in the last 24 hours – the highest spike the country has seen so far, just as the government has begun to ease restrictions.

This takes the total number of cases to 96,169, with around 56,000 active infections.

While the lockdown is slated to end on 31 May, some non-essential shops and businesses have begun to reopen, and buses have been allowed to operate across cities and towns, and even cross state borders if they have permission.

Easing the lockdown is seen by some as essential for India’s battered economy to recover – job losses have crossed 120 million.

A lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus has seen 122 million Indians lose their jobs in April alone, new data from a private research agency has shown.

India’s unemployment rate is now at a record high of 27.1%, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE).

The new data shows India’s unemployment figures are four times that of the US.

India doesn’t release official jobs data, but CMIE data is widely accepted.

The country has been in lockdown since 25 March to curb Covid-19 infections, causing mass layoffs and heavy job losses.

India currently has close to 50,000 reported infections.

Unemployment hit 23.5% in April, a sharp spike from 8.7% in March. This is attributed to the lockdown, which brought most economic activity – except essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies and food supplies – to a standstill.