Of the total employees in the nine sectors, 40.6% were employed in manufacturing. (Photo: HT)

Non-farm jobs in nine key sectors expand in Apr-Jun,  shows  survey

The survey of 10,900 establishments showed that these sectors, including manufacturing, technology, financial services and trade, employed an estimated 30.8 million people at the end of 30 June, up 29% from 23.7 million at the end of March 2014, when an assessment was last made.

The software and business process outsourcing (BPO) sector reported the sharpest growth of 152% during the period, the labour ministry survey showed. Health sector jobs grew 77%, the second-fastest.

The survey found that jobs in manufacturing grew just 22% over the period, while the education sector recorded a 39% growth, transport sector 68%, construction sector 42%, and financial services 48%.

“The QES and economic census comparison is not an ideal one…While some sectors have shown impressive numbers, we must realize that these are the sectors that got a push due to massive demand for technology and its adoption post the pandemic outbreak,” said K.R. Shyam Sundar, a labour economist and professor at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Meanwhile, employment in trade declined by 25%, and 13% in the hotels and restaurant sector.

The quarterly employment survey will be a regular exercise to plug the lack of data on employment, labour and employment minister Bhupender Yadav said.

While releasing the quarterly employment survey (QES), Yadav said that the sixth economic census of 2013-14 had pegged the number of employees in these sectors at 23.7 million, but there is no official data after that.

Of the total employees in the nine sectors, 40.6% were employed in manufacturing, 21.8% in education, 8.4% in healthcare, 6.7% in information technology and BPO sector, 6.6% in trade, 5.7% in financial services, 4.3% in transport, 2.9% in accommodation and restaurants, and 2.4% in construction.

Labour secretary Sunil Barthwal said the QES is the beginning of a regular quarterly employment generation exercise that will help policymaking and plug the gap in official contemporary jobs data.

The labour bureau has taken data from the sixth economic census as its base as the seventh economic census data is not yet out in public, QES survey design committee chief, S.P. Mukherjee, said.

While an economic census gives the actual national figures, the QES is a survey, and its data is an estimate, explained Mukherjee, a veteran labour economist and statistician.

Mukherjee, however, said that the survey captured credible data from establishments, and he has favoured its comparison to the economic census of 2013-14 than to the previous rounds of QES, where the sampling and data exercise was limited.

The previous QES started after the Lehman crisis in 2008-09 to capture the impact of the economic crisis on export sectors. It was discontinued in 2017-18 by the government.

The survey, however, did not give a comparative study of the pandemic’s impact on non-farm employment, except to say that employment decreased in 27% of the establishments surveyed by it in the period.

“On the bright side of the employment scenario, it may be noted that 81% of the workers received full wages during the lockdown period (25 March -30 June 2020), 16% received reduced wages, and only 3% were denied any wages. In the health and financial services sector, however, more than 90% of workers received full wages,” the survey said.

The survey said male workers constituted 70.7% of the total workers in these key sectors, indicating low female participation in the workforce.

“The overall participation of female workers stood at 29%, slightly lower than 31% reported during 6th EC (economic survey),” the survey said.

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