Govt widens scope of jobs survey

Labour ministry includes 18 sectors and sub sectors such as services, retail trade to map most of non-farm labour market


The new quarterly employment survey will have a sample size of over 10,000 industries—five times as large as the previous survey’s.
The new quarterly employment survey will have a sample size of over 10,000 industries—five times as large as the previous survey’s.

New Delhi: The government has discontinued the quarterly employment survey, more than seven years after it started the exercise to gauge the impact of a global recession on manufacturing and export-oriented industries.

In its place, the government has started another, more broad-based survey, which captures the employment market in India.

Instead of just eight manufacturing and export-oriented sectors, the labour ministry has zeroed in on 18 sectors and sub sectors, including services that make up most of the non-agriculture labour market in India.

The new quarterly employment survey will have a sample size of over 10,000 industries—five times as large as the previous survey’s.

“The quick employment survey has outlived its purpose. Now we have broad-based our focus keeping in mind the new realities of Indian economy,” said labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal. “While manufacturing sector is important, ignoring the service sector will not give a complete picture of the employment generation in the country quarter-on-quarter.”

In 2015-16, the manufacturing sector contributed 17.5% of the gross value added (GVA) which is representative of total national output of the economy, according to data available with the department of statistics. In the same period, the services sector contributed 53.4% of GVA.

The new survey will track retail trade, construction, healthcare, education, accommodation and restaurants, and consultancy, among others; industries such as leather and gems and jewellery are out of the new survey.

The new quarterly survey, the first edition of which is expected to be released late this month, has also considered sectors such as food processing and warehousing.

Since December 2008, soon after the onset of the global financial crisis, the labour bureau had been tracking eight sectors —textiles, automobiles, leather, metals, gems and jewellery, transport, information technology (IT)/business process outsourcing (BPO) and handloom/powerlooms.

Omitting sectors such as construction, the hotel industry and retail from such a survey presents an incomplete employment scenario, the labour secretary said. The labour bureau has made efforts to rectify previous anomalies by taking into account the new growth sectors.

Out of the overall services sector, the sub-sector comprising financial services, real estate and professional services contributed 21.6% of GVA, and grew the fastest among all sub-segments at 10.3% year-on-year in 2015-16, according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

The sub-sector of trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting contributed 19.2% to GVA, as per CSO data.

The sample size and the method used in compiling the findings of the previous quarterly survey had issues and it was very narrow in its outlook, said K.R. Shyam Sundar, a labour economist and professor at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

“The Indian economy right now cannot be seen in isolation with the service sector. The new sunrise sectors must have a say in job surveys and in subsequent policy formulations on employment in India,” Shyam Sundar said.

The labour bureau should also include sectors such as e-commerce and start-ups in the survey to glean a bigger picture of the labour market in India, he said.

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