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Average Monthly Income for Workers fell by 17% during Pandemic: CSE Report 2021

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Average monthly income for workers fell by 17%According to ‘State of Working India 2021: One Year of COVID-19’ released by Azim Premji University’s Centre for Sustainable Employment (CSE) in Bengaluru, Karnataka, the monthly earnings of workers fell on an average by 17% due to COVID-19, self-employed and informal salaried workers faced the highest loss of earnings.

  • Around 100 million jobs were lost nationwide during the April-May 2020 Lockdown.
  • Around 230 million fell below the national minimum wage threshold of INR 375 per day during the pandemic.
  • Poverty increased by 15% in rural & 20% in urban areas during the pandemic.
  • Due to employment and income losses, the labour share of GDP fell by 5% from 32.5% in Q2 2019-20 to 27% in Q2 2020-21.

State of Working India Report

  • The 2021 Report covered the period between March 2020 to December 2020.
  • It analyses the impact of one year of COVID-19 on employment, incomes, inequality and poverty.
  • The State of Working India is an annual report of the Central for Sustainable Employment (CSE), it conducts research in areas of work, labour, and employment.

Detailed Analysis

The report has analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on Employment, Income, Inequality & Poverty.


The pandemic has increased informality in employment.

  • The situation of having access to jobs improved in June 2020, but still 15 million people remained without work.
  • For an average household of four members, the monthly per capita income in October 2020 (INR 4, 979) was below its level in January 2020 (INR 5, 989).

ii.Exodus into Informal sector

Post lockdown, nearly 50% of the salaried workers moved into informal work – either as self-employed (30%), casual wage (10%) or informal salaried (9%).

  • Sectors like Education, Health and professional services recorded the highest exodus of workers.
  • Agriculture, Construction and Petty Trade emerged as the top fallback options for workers.


90% of the decline in income was due to reduction in earnings, only 10% due to loss of employment. This indicates that even if workers got back to work, they had to accept lower earnings.


  • States with high COVID-19 case load contributed disproportionately to job losses.
  • 10% decline in mobility associated with 7.5% decline in income.

v.Effect on Women & Young workers

During the lockdown and in post-lockdown months,

  • 19% of women remained employed & 47% suffered a permanent job loss, incase of men  7%  lost their job, while 61% remained employed.
  • For Young workers in the 15-24 years age group – 33% of workers failed to regain any form of employment by the end of 2020. For the 25-55 years category it was 6%.


The report also proposes various solutions

  • Extending free rations under the Public Distribution System (PDS) till the end of 2021.
  • Expansion of MGNREGA entitlement to 150 days
  • COVID-19 Hardship allowance of INR 30, 000 (INR 5, 000 per month for 6 months) for 2.55 million Anganwadi and ASHA workers.

Basis of the Report

The report is based on the survey of various civil society organisations such as

Consumer Pyramids Household Survey of the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE), the Azim Premji University Covid-19 Livelihoods Phone Survey (CLIPS), and the India Working Survey (IWS), and others.

Recent Related News:

On 18th August 2020, ILO and ADB released the joint report titled “Tackling the Covid-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific”, which stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, around 41 lakh youths have lost their jobs in India.

About Centre for Sustainable Employment (CSE)

Head – Amit Basole
Location – Azim Premji University, Bangalore, Karnataka
Chancellor of Azim Premji University – Azim Premji