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India's formal job creation numbers beat pandemic blues

Jobs are back in the market with a strong recovery in India's formal employment numbers (EPFO payroll) indicating a bounce back from the lows of March and April 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdown

Mudit Kapoor | March 23, 2021 | Updated 11:10 IST
India's formal job creation numbers beat pandemic blues
More than 5 lakh jobs were lost as unemployment rate soared to more than 20% during March and April 2020

Employment in India is finally back to the pre-pandemic level, as per the latest EPFO data. In January 2021, 13.35 lakh new jobs across age groups were registered with EPFO, which is the highest net job creation number since Sep 2017, when Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) started releasing the monthly data.

Age-wise analysis indicates that during January 2021, the age-bracket of 22-25 has registered substantial growth in subscriber base with around 3.48 lakh net enrollments. This age-group can be considered as freshers in the job market. This is followed by age-bracket of 29-35 with around 2.69 lakh net enrollments, which can be seen as experienced workers who changed jobs for career growth and opted to be with EPFO. This bracket was followed by 18-21 years (2.66 lakh) and 2.6 lakh jobs for 35 plus category.

The latest numbers signal an improvement in India's job scenario post-pandemic. More than 5 lakh jobs were lost as unemployment rate soared to more than 20% during March and April 2020.

January's payroll numbers mark a month-on-month increase of 24% over December 2020. On a year-on-year (over January 2020) basis this is a 27.8% improvement.

Of the 13.35 lakh net subscribers added during the month of January 2021, around 8.20 lakh new members will receive the benefit of EPFO's social security schemes for the first time. Around 5.16 lakh net subscribers exited and then rejoined EPFO indicating switching of jobs by the subscribers within the establishments covered by EPFO, and subscribers choosing to retain membership by transferring funds rather than opting for final settlement.

For the full fiscal, this takes the cumulative job creation figure (till January) to 62.49 lakh.

Pan-India comparison shows that states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are in forefront of net payroll addition by adding 34.24 lakh net subscribers out of 62.49 lakh cumulative net subscribers added during the current financial year, across all age-groups.

Gender-wise analysis shows that 2.61 lakh net female subscribers were added in the month of January 2021 showing an increase of approximately 30% over the preceding month of December.

The payroll data is provisional and previous data gets updated every month. EPFO has been releasing payroll data covering the period September 2017 onwards since April 2018.

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