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NEW DELHI : At least 629,914 new people joined the formal workforce in October 2019, a lowest in the current financial year, the government payroll data released Tuesday showed.

The number was the lowest in the current financial year indicating the growing stress in formal employment creation in recent months. In fact the payroll data, that extrapolates number of new EPF subscribers who joined on a particular month, shows that October registered deceleration of job creation for four months in a row.

As per payroll data, while in September the numbers of new payroll addition were 879,746, in August it was 962,378. In July it was 1.18 million, and in June it was 1.17 million, in May it was 1.06 million and in April it stood at 1.05 million.

In October, of the total new payroll additions, some 346,561 were in the 18-25 age group generally considered as the fresh job seekers in the labour market. When compared with September this number is over 136,000 less (in the 18-25 age group) who joined the formal workforce fresh.

A slowing economy, which grew at 4.5% in September quarter, lowest in 25 quarters, may be hampering employment generation forcing many to opt out of the labour market. High unemployment rate has been the talking point in India in recent times and several government and provate employment surveys showing slowing down of employment generation.

More working age urban Indians, especially the youth, are withdrawing from the labour force, according to the latest quarterly periodic labour force survey by the statistics department for March quarter of 2019. The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), defined as the share of working age population (15+) that are either employed or looking for jobs, declined to 46.5% in March quarter from 46.8% in December quarter. LFPR for the urban youth (15-29 years) declined at a sharper rate to 37.7% in March quarter from 38.2% in December quarter, Mint reported on 24 November.

Of the total EPFO payroll additions in October2019, while 146,719 were female employees, 483,175 were male. To be sure, payroll data of most recent months may get slightly revised due to data collection and tabulation delays in some sectors.

Some 12 million people enter the Indian labour market every year but job creation has not kept pace with the demand. “There is growth in the labour market but it is subdued. Sectors like telecom, auto and manufacturing are facing a tough time. We hope things will be better in 2020," said R.P. Yadav, chairman and managing director of Genius Consulting and vice president of the Indian Staffing Federation.

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