Job creation trebles in Feb to reach 8.61 lakh, shows EPFO payroll data

Chennai: Jobs or the lack of them were at the helm of national affairs at the start of the year. With reports stating that unemployment has risen to unexpected levels and the government saying otherwise, the debate raged on.

However, on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis, net employment generation in the formal sector almost trebled to 8.61 lakh in February, said the latest EPFO payroll data. This was a stark rise when compared to the same period last year when the number stood at 2.87 lakh.

According to the latest data, the highest job creation was recorded in January 2019 at 8.94 lakh against the provisional estimate of 8.96 lakh released last month.

During February, the highest number of 2.36 lakh jobs were created in the 22-25 years age group, followed by 2.09 lakh in the 18-21 years age bracket.

The data showed that 80.86 lakh new jobs were created in the 18 months period from September 2017 to February this year. However, the EPFO has revised downward the number of net subscribers added or new jobs created from September 2017 to January to 72.24 lakh from 76.48 lakh released last month.

The sharpest revision was for March 2018 in the latest report which showed contraction or exit of 55,934 members from the EPFO subscriptions. Last month, the EPFO payroll data had showed that as many as 29,023 members exited from its schemes in March 2018. In February, the EPFO data had showed that as many as 5,498 members joined EPFO schemes in March 2018.

On contraction in March 2018 numbers, the EPFO said, ‘March 2018 figure is negative due to large number of exits reported in the month of March, in view of it being the closing month of the financial year.’

The EPFO said the data is provisional as updation of employee records is a continuous process and gets updated in subsequent months. This is age-band wise data of new members registered under the EPFO where the first non-zero contribution received during a particular month.

For each age-wise band, the estimates are net of the members newly enrolled, exited and rejoined during the month as per records of the EPFO, it added.

The estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year. Members’ data are linked to unique Aadhaar identity, it added.

Crisis at peak
Almost 11 million Indians lost their jobs during 2018, a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said.

“India’s unemployment rate shot up to 7.4 per cent in December 2018. This is the highest unemployment in 15 months. The rate has increased sharply from the 6.6 per cent clocked in the previous month,” the report said.

It showed that the number of employed recorded in December 2018 was at 397 million, which is 10.9 million less than the figure of 407.9 million seen a year ago at the end of December 2017. Around 3.7 million salaried employees lost jobs in 2018.

“An estimated 9.1 million jobs were lost in rural India while the loss in urban India was 1.8 million jobs. Rural India accounts for two-thirds of India’s population, but it accounted for 84 per cent of the job losses,” the report stated.

NT Bureau