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The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd. (CMIE) survey has revealed that India employed an estimated 404.9 million people during May-August 2019 in India, 2.5 million more than 2018 during the same period.
“This is a healthy sign because, during the preceding two May-August periods, employment had fallen in similar year-over-year comparisons. Employment during May-August 2018 was 5.5 million lower than it was in May-August 2017 which, in turn, was 0.6 million lower than it was in May-August 2016,” said Mahesh Vyas, CEO of CMIE.
The Consumer Pyramids Household Survey is conducted every four months. The May-August 2019 is the second consecutive survey to have recorded a sequential increase in employment.
“While all this is good news, the not so good news is that the increase in employment in the latest survey is distributed more in favour of sectors that should be seeing a fall in employment,” said Vyas. He also added that while agriculture witnessed an increase of 8.4 million jobs, the IT and financial sector saw a decline in net employee addition. This is a worrisome issue as an increase in farmhands was not a solution to the challenge of the job.
“This is surprising because monsoon rains were running behind schedule and by the end of August 2019, Kharif sowing was 1.7 per cent lower than it was by the end of August 2018. The increase was largely in crop cultivation. This saw employment go up from 133 million to nearly 139 million. Poultry farming and animal husbandry also saw an increase in employment from 1.8 million to 4.3 million,” Vyas said.
The CMIE CEO said that it was odd that there could be an increase in employment in agriculture even though agricultural activities had shrunk that year. One explanation is that as jobs in other avenues had shrunk, labour had no recourse but to revert back to their farmlands and claim that they were employed in agricultural activities,” he said.
The survey said that employment in the manufacturing sector declined by 0.9 million between May-August 2018 and May-August 2019. The textiles industry is estimated to have shed as many as 2.2 million jobs. Another 0.4 million was shed by non-metallic mineral products, including cement, tiles, bricks and glass. In May-August 2019, according to the CMIE survey, these relatively low-skilled jobs were of the order of 296 million. These were of the order of 289 million a year back.
“Therefore, these low-skill jobs saw an increase of over 7 million during the span of a year. Note that the total increase in jobs during this period was only 2.5 million jobs. So, it is possible that jobs have moved out from relatively better sectors,” Vyas said.
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