India’s economic growth has moved from not just being a jobless regime but to being a ‘job-loss’ one, suggests new research. In a study published in the Economic and Political Weekly, K.P. Kannan and G. Raveendran break down the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) findings to suggest that the Indian economy is losing its ability to absorb new entrants to the work-force with less-educated rural women suffering the most.
Combining historical National Sample Survey (NSS) employment data with the recently-released PLFS survey, the authors find that the ability of the Indian economy to absorb its growing working-age population has been steadily decreasing. In 2004-05, 58% of the population entering the workforce in the previous two decades were absorbed into the workforce but by 2011-12 this figure had fallen to 15% in 2011-12. In 2017-18, this figure turned negative (-5%) suggesting that some of the working-age population actually left the workforce. And all this has happened even while India recorded positive aggregate growth.
Sectoral analysis of the data shows that the net job loss stems from losses in sectors such as agriculture, quarrying, mining and manufacturing. Taken together, job losses in these sectors accounted for 95% of the total job loss. According to the authors, this jobs crisis is a result of several structural and policy failures in agriculture, rural-to-urban migration and education.
What more can happen to underline that the economic crisis and the distress of the masses are reaching an explosive point. Throughout the world, massive demonstrations are being held against the ruling regime demanding end to austerity measures for the poor. In India, the battle is for just protecting the existing jobs and getting new jobs. All signs are there that the underprivileged masses are fed up at their distress level.