Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 531

Migration, Reverse Migration, Employment and
Unemployment Crises During the First Wave of
Covid-19 Pandemic in India

Reimeingam Marchang



This paper examines the nature and extent of crises of reverse migration, employment and unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It began by examining the level and trend of migration to understand the labour mobility in particular in India before the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic was severe for the migrant workers as they returned to their home states due to a sudden job loss. Reverse migrant workers constituted about one per cent of India’s population. The size of the population does not necessarily have a positive association with the rate of reverse migration across the states/UTs. Largely the pandemic and partly the reverse migration have caused the labour market crisis both from the demand and supply of labour aspects. The labour force participation rate and employment had considerably shrunk while the unemployment rate had significantly amplified particularly during the peak of the lockdown in the first wave of the pandemic.

Working Papers