Hindustan Times (East UP)
At least 7,56,067 new workers joined in February, down 1,06,000 from January
THE EPFO DATA SHOWED THAT THE NET PAYROLL ADDITIONS IN FEB WERE 12.3 LAKH, 3.52% MORE THAN JAN
NEW DELHI: The number of new workers who joined the formal workforce in February was the lowest in three months, provisional data from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) showed, reflecting the continued strain in the jobs environment.
At least 7,56,067 new workers joined in February, down 1,06,000 from the previous month. In January, the number of new EPF subscribers was 8,62,624, while in December, it was 8,61,074.
The payroll data showed that nearly half of the drop in new additions in February from January was in the crucial 18-25 age group, considered first-timers in the labour market.
For example, while 4,11,000 fresh subscribers were added in this age group in February, the number was 4,61,000 in January and 4,76,000 in December.
With the ongoing surge in covid cases, experts argued, these numbers might worsen in March and April.
“The lockdown and curtailment of economic activities have a direct bearing on job creation. Fresh lockdowns, lack of demand in the market and reverse migration will all show its impact on payroll additions in March and April,” said KR Shyam Sundar, a labour economist and professor at XLRI, Jamshedpur.
“The new addition of payroll is somewhat important than the net additions, and even in the new additions, the 18-25 age group is a good indicator. But let me reiterate that EPFO payroll data does not give an overall picture of the jobs market,” said Sundar.
To be sure, the payroll data released every month is termed provisional, and some numbers may change over the next few months. The EPFO data showed that the net payroll additions in February were 12.3 million, 3.52% more than January.
Net payroll additions are arrived at by taking into account new additions, the number of exits and the re-joining of earlier exited members, and experts argue that it fluctuates more than new additions.
The retirement fund body said category-wise analysis of industries reflects dominance of expert services category followed by trading-commercial establishments in the net addition of payrolls.
“Pan India comparison shows that the states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are at the forefront of net payroll addition. These five states contributed 55% of the total net subscribers’ additions across all the age-groups by adding 3.81 million net subscribers during the current financial year,” the EPFO said in a statement.