Provisional results of the Sixth Economic Census revealed that employment grew at about 4 per cent annually in the eight year period to 2014 as against an estimate of an annual growth in employment of 1.5 per cent by the NSSO for 2011-12.
Though the provisional data that was released on Wednesday, pegged the annual growth in employment at the highest rate in nearly two decades, the jump can be ascribed partly to the character of the Economic Census and partly to the fact that the current exercise has excluded establishments engaged in public administration, defence and compulsory social sector activities. While the growth rate of employment during 1998 to 2005 (Fifth Economic Census) was of 2.78 per cent per annum, it was a mere 1.75 per cent per annum during 1990 to 1998.
According to the Sixth Economic Census conducted between January 2013 and April 2014, employment grew by over 34 per cent to 12.77 crore workers while the number of establishments jumped up by 41.7 per cent in the eight year period to 2014.
Employment in urban areas increased by 37.46 per cent to 6.14 crore in 2014, whereas in rural areas the growth was 31.59 per cent to 6.62 crore compared to 2005. “The growth in employment at 34 per cent in eight years period is a good rate. That means that it had grown at an annual rate of over 4 per cent when the population is growing at 2 per cent” said Pronab Sen, chairman, National Statistical Commission but cautioned that the Census data must not be compared with that of the NSSO.
Significantly, the number of women entering the workforce continued to remain subdued with female workers accounting for just about a quarter or 25.56 per cent of the total work force by 2013 as against 20 per cent in the Fifth Economic Census.
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However, in an indication that women may be voluntarily moving out of the job market, the proportion of female workers in the workforce was much lower in urban areas at 19.8 per cent as against that in rural areas where it was at 30.9 per cent.
The Sixth Economic Census data also reveals that the states with the largest number of establishments were also those that employed a majority of the workforce. “Five states, namely, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have the combined share of about 46.63 per cent of the total employment at the country level,” said the provisional report.
So Maharashtra, which emerged as the country’s top employer with 1.43 crore workers also had the second largest number of establishments at 61.25 lakh. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh, with 1.37 crore workers had the largest number of establishments in the country at 67 lakh. While employment grew in states including Manipur, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland and Telangana, it declined in rural areas of several states as well as in urban areas such as Delhi. The number of firms increased by 41.73 per cent to 5.84 crore in 2013 over 2005 level.