Employment across 9 sectors sees 29% rise in June qtr: Govt

  • The results of the first round of a redesigned quarterly employment survey (QES) showed an estimated total employment of 3.08 crore compared to 2.3 crore jobs reported in the 2013-14 sixth economic census.
The country’s unemployment rate soared to past 20% during the first wave of the pandemic and stood at 8.32% on August 31, according to CMIE data.
The country’s unemployment rate soared to past 20% during the first wave of the pandemic and stood at 8.32% on August 31, according to CMIE data.
Updated on Sep 28, 2021 04:41 AM IST
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There was a 29% increase in employment in nine sectors, including IT, business process outsourcing (BPO) and manufacturing, during the peak Covid-19 outbreak months of April-June 2021 over a base of 2013-14, a labour bureau employment survey showed on Monday.

The results of the first round of a redesigned quarterly employment survey (QES) showed an estimated total employment of 3.08 crore compared to 2.3 crore jobs reported in the 2013-14 sixth economic census.

“The most impressive growth of 152% has been recorded in the IT/BPO sector, while growth rates in health (sector) is 77%, in education it is 39%, in manufacturing it is 22%, in transport it is 68% and in construction it is 42%,” labour minister Bhupender Yadav said while releasing the QES report.

Between April and June, India battled a devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections. The fresh, revamped QES comes nearly four years after it was discontinued and contains data from establishments in nine sectors employing at least 10 people.

India lacks short-term, high-frequency jobs data and the QES is meant to fill the critical gap. Economists usually depend on the Periodic Labour Force Survey, a government jobs survey, or data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a private data firm.

The country’s unemployment rate soared to past 20% during the first wave of the pandemic and stood at 8.32% on August 31, according to CMIE data.

Most economic indices are compared to a year-ago period, but the current QES compares employment to the sixth economic census conducted in 2013-14, which constitutes a nearly nine-year gap. Although the seventh economic census was conducted in 2020, the government hasn’t made its results public.

An expert pointed to problems with the employment numbers cited by the survey.

“The growth rate (in jobs of 29%) reported by the government constitutes simple growth between two data points, and hence we get fantastic growth rates like 29%,” said KR Shyam Sundar, a professor at the Xaviers Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur.

“However, for assessing the employment scenario, the reliable growth rate statistic would be the compounded average growth rate,”

Sundar said calculating a simple growth rate, as he assumes the government had done, would not adjust for the large time interval between the two periods compared by the QES. “The reported high growth rate of employment is not in sync with the decline in growth and slow gains in national income,” he said.

The QES showed jobs in trade declined by 25%, while there was a fall of 13% in jobs in the accommodation and restaurant category. Financial services employment grew by 48%, according to the QES.

The employment readings may not give the whole picture, but an idea of employment scenario in the country, the QES report states.

“It is obvious that employment figures from establishment-based surveys like the present QES (as the initial first component of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey AQEES) can provide an idea—though incomplete—about ‘gainful’ employment in different sectors of the economy,” it said.

The QES survey gives estimated employment data, while the economic census 2013-14 provides what statisticians call fully enumerated data.

A key finding of QES is that 88% of the estimated workers were permanent, while the remaining were either casual and contract workers. This suggests that hit by the Covid-19 disruption, establishments shed casual or contractual staff.

The nine selected sectors picked for the survey were manufacturing, trade, construction, education, transport, health, accommodation and restaurant, IT/BPO and financial services.

“Of the total employment estimated in the selected nine sectors, manufacturing accounts for nearly 41%, followed by education with 22%, and health 8%. Trade as well as and IT/BPO each engaged 7% of the total estimated number of workers,” labour minister Yadav said, citing the QES.

The labour bureau has been tasked with conducting the AQEES, which has two components: quarterly employment survey, which was released on Monday, and the Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES). The latter will cover the unorganised segment (in establishments with less than 10 workers) through a sample survey.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021