Jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors rose 0.23% sequentially in the October-December quarter, the slowest in seven quarters, as industrial slump forced companies to cut flab even as export-oriented sectors increased hiring to cash in on a weak rupee to grab a higher share in overseas markets.
Overall, employment was up by 83,000 in October-December, which is lower than 1.43 lakh in July-September and 86,000 in April-June last fiscal, the latest quarterly survey by the Labour Bureau showed.
During April-December last fiscal, the labour intensive sectors hired a total 3.13 lakh workers, compared to 3.48 lakh in 2012-13 and 8.37 lakh in 2011-12, mirroring the slowdown in GDP growth to less than 5% in the last two years from close to 9% in 2010-11.
The latest survey assumes importance as sluggish employment growth and job losses in some sectors have become the focal point for political parties in their campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
While textiles and IT/BPO increasing their bench strength during the third quarter of 2013-14, metals, jewellery, auto and transport sectors cut flab.
While the textiles sector hired 92,000 workers followed by IT/BPO (17,000) and leather (13,000) during the third quarter of 2013-14, there has been lay offs in many sector, metals sector cut 20,000 jobs, automobiles (11,000), jewellery (6,000) and transport (2,000).
The good news is that direct employment has increased by 70,000 while contract jobs rose 13,000 during the December quarter. The textile sector added 72,000 direct jobs and 20,000 contract jobs while IT/BPO sector added just 1,000 direct jobs and 16,000 contract jobs.
Employment in export-oriented textile units increased by 94,000 while leather added 13,000 workers but it fell in IT/BPO (21,000) and automobile (10,000). While a revival in the United States and Europe might have boosted exports for textiles and leather, the jewellery sector failed to capitalise on that due to high duty on gold imports.