New Delhi: Average incomes of workers in labour-intensive sectors came down by 3.45% a month during the third quarter of this fiscal due to the deepening global economic crisis, an official report said.
Economists believe the declining trend would continue in the coming months.
“The average earnings have declined at the rate of 3.45% per month during the period of study (October-December 2008),” the ministry of labour and employment said in its report after a survey of eight sectors including mining, textiles, gems and jewellery, and automobiles.
Average monthly income had gone up to Rs17,228 in October 2008 probably due to the inclusion of festival bonuses, while it was Rs16,934 in the previous month, it said.
Thereafter, earnings show a declining trend during November and December.
Average monthly earnings went down by 11.43% in November to Rs15,259 and by 0.5% to Rs15,182 in the following month, the report said.
“This (fall in earnings) is consistent with the slowdown in the global economy ... there is no surprise”, Crisil principal economist D K Joshi said, adding that the trend would continue in the coming months.
The report said about half a million workers lost their jobs during October-December 2008.
As per the Global Wage Report 2008-09 of the International Labour Office, it is apprehended that the global economic crisis would to lead to cuts in wages of millions of workers worldwide in the coming year.
It predicts that slow or negative growth, combined with a highly volatile food and energy crisis, would erode the real wages of the world’s 1.5 billion wage earners, particularly low-wage and poorer households.
HDFC Bank’s chief economist Abheek Barua said that he was not surprised by the number. “There were a lot of layoffs as credit is not available. This will continue.”
India is currently estimated to have a total workforce of 500 million, which is expected to grow by 20 million every year over the next 10 years.