Last Modified: Wed, Jan 24 2018. 10 45 PM IST

77% of Indian workers to have vulnerable employment by 2019: ILO

Despite economic growth, 72% of workers in South Asia including India and 46% in South-eastern Asia will have vulnerable employment by 2019

The ILO report, in a way, will sharpen the jobs debate in India, which many believe is not creating enough jobs. Photo: Mint
Prashant K. Nanda

New Delhi: The Asia-Pacific region will add 23 million jobs between 2017-19, aided by employment growth in South Asian nations, including India, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

But a lot of the jobs being created are of poor quality despite strong economic growth and some 77% of workers in India will have vulnerable employment by 2019, according to the ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook report released on Tuesday.

“A large part of the jobs created in the region remain of poor quality: vulnerable employment affects almost half of all workers in Asia-Pacific, or more than 900 million men and women.

“Projections indicate that 72% of workers in Southern Asia, 46% in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, and 31% in Eastern Asia will have vulnerable employment by 2019, showing very little change from 2017,” the ILO said.

In India the vulnerable employment level is higher than those of the world or the South Asia region. The report says that of the 535 million labour force in India in 2019, some 398.6 million will have poor quality jobs. The bigger concern in India is while the overall unemployment rate hovers between 3.4% to 3.5% between 2017-19, the unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group is much higher—increasing further from 10% in 2014 to 10.7% in 2019. In 2017, the unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group was 10.5%

The report comes amid a jobs debate in India, which many believe is not creating enough jobs even as some 12 million people get added to the labour market every year.

“The high and persistent incidence of vulnerable employment in the region largely reflects the fact that structural transformation processes, whereby capital and workers transfer from low to higher value-added sectors, are lagging behind in large parts of the region, with the exception of Eastern Asia,” ILO economist and lead author of the report Stefan Kühn said.

The poor quality of jobs and high informality, the ILO said, is key for the high level of “working poors” or those living on incomes of less than Rs198 per day.

As of 2017, 23.4% of the working population was in extreme or moderate poverty, down from over 44% a decade back.

However, despite economic growth, working poverty in countries like India remains at a high.

“Despite remarkable progresses, working poverty remains high in some parts of the region, notably in Southern Asia. Over 41% of workers in this region are estimated to be in either extreme or moderate poverty in 2017, accounting for more than two-thirds of all working poor in Asia-Pacific,” the ILO report said.

The report says by 2019, India will have 18.9 million unemployed people or 9.76% of such population worldwide —an increase from 18.3 million in 2017.

Topics: JobsILOjob creationemploymentIndian workers

First Published: Tue, Jan 23 2018. 11 01 AM IST

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