New Delhi: Job creation in the manufacturing and export-oriented sectors fell to a four-quarter low in three months ended 30 June, indicating that efforts to boost employment had begun to flag.

In April-June, the first quarter of the financial year, the number of jobs in the textiles, automobiles, leather, metals, gems and jewellery, transport, information technology (IT)/business process outsourcing (BPO) and handloom/powerloom sectors fell by a net 43,000 from the previous quarter, said the 26th quarterly employment survey conducted by the labour ministry.

Barring leather, the sectors surveyed by the labour ministry either showed a decline in the number of jobs or no increase at all in employment.

In the March quarter, these sectors added 64,000 jobs, on top of the 117,000 jobs created in the preceding three months.

In the September 2014 quarter, they added 158,000 jobs, on top of 182,000 jobs in the three months ended June.

In April-June 2015, textiles sector jobs decreased by 17,000 and automobile industry jobs by 18,000. Similarly, IT/BPO sector jobs went down by 5,000, handloom jobs by 6,000, gems and jewellery by 3,000 and transport jobs by 2,000, according to the survey.

The metal sector did not add any new jobs. The leather sector created 8,000 new jobs.

What is surprising is that employment in the textiles and IT/BPO sectors, which has been the lead job creators in the past one year, slumped in April-June.

Numbers may hand ammunition to labour unions that are critical of labour reforms proposed by National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The quarterly employment survey has been carried out since December 2008 to gauge the impact of an economic slowdown on select Indian sectors.

Data for the latest survey were collected from upwards of 2,000 factories.

The decrease in the number of jobs is mainly because of a fall in the number of temporary workers and not permanent employees. “In the direct category of workers, employment has increased by 30,000 whereas for contract category of workers, it has decreased by 73,000 during the quarter ended June 2015 over March 2015," said the survey.

Among sectors, textiles added 44,000 direct or permanent workers and reduced 61,000 contract workers.

To be sure, the quarterly employment survey doesn’t provide a complete picture of India’s jobs market as it does not take into account a large part of the services and other sunrise sectors.

Private sector surveys carried out for more recent periods are painting a positive picture of the jobs scenario, aided by a revival in economic activity and better business sentiment.

According to an October 2015 employment outlook report by job portal Naukri.com, hiring grew 26% in October 2015 over October 2014.

“The job market continues to sustain the momentum gained over the past few quarters and is moving further north with a 26% YoY (year-on-year) growth over last year October and November base," said V. Suresh, chief sales officer at Naukri.com.

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