New Delhi: The Indian job market will remain weak in the June quarter with a record number of companies undecided on hiring due to economic concerns, but it will be better than in the March quarter, a survey showed.
Sixty-four percent of employers were uncertain about their hiring plans for the coming quarter, the survey of 3,600 companies across seven industries by staffing services firm Manpower showed on Tuesday.
The net employment outlook was at a seasonally adjusted 25% for April to June, above a 3-year low of 19% in the March quarter but 17 percentage points below the figure in the year earlier period.
Crunch time: A file photo of a job fair conducted by ministry of labour. The ministry estimates half a million jobs were lost in Dec quarter. Hemant Mishra / Mint
The outlook is based on the difference between those who plan to add jobs and those who expect to cut them. Only a quarter of the respondents said they would add staff, compared with 43% a year ago.
“(Employers) remain hesitant about adding employees at this time,” Manpower’s India chief, Naresh Malhan, said. “The modest improvement (quarter-on-quarter) ... could be the result of employers reappraising their cutbacks of the previous quarter.”
The Indian economy, Asia’s third-largest, expanded 5.3% in the December quarter, the slowest pace in six years. The labour ministry estimated half a million jobs were lost in that period in sectors that make up 60% of the economy.
If annual growth slips below 6%, as some have forecast for the year beginning April, experts say there could be greater unemployment.
Among industries, the steepest decline in hiring intentions was seen in the mining and construction sector, where firms showed a 28 percentage point drop to 20%.
Finance, insurance and real estate firms scored 21%, which was 26 percentage points below the year-ago figure.
The manufacturing industry, where data indicates output is shrinking, saw a 15% decline in intentions to 22%. The services sector notched the highest score of 29%, but this was 19 percentage points down on the year.