STARTING END of this month, the Labour Bureau will begin the fieldwork for its revamped Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) covering eight sectors of the Indian economy. Along with incorporating data for new sectors such as trade, education and health for April-June, the first quarter of the financial year 2016-17, the Bureau will expand the base for the survey to around 10,000 establishments as against around 4,000 at present.
“The fieldwork will begin by the end of May. The data will be collected for April-June. We will take approximately two months to collect data and our aim is to bring out the survey for April-June by the first week of August,” a senior Labour Bureau official said.
The new survey will include 18 sub-sectors under eight main sectors of manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurants and IT/BPOs, bringing unorganised sector under its ambit. At present, the survey covers sectors such as textiles including apparels, leather, metal, automobile, gems and jewellery, transport, handloom/ powerloom and IT/BPOs.
The Labour Bureau had earlier discussed the possibility of conducting a pilot survey, but given the likelihood of a delay in conducting the pilot study, it decided against it and will now be conducting the final survey for April-June quarter.
“The idea is to bring out the employment data without lag after the end of every quarter,” the official said. Also, contractual staff may be hired for conducting the survey this time, the official added.
Started in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008, the first quarterly employment survey for October-December 2008 was conducted in January 2009 to study the impact of the crisis on employment situation in India.
So far, 28 such surveys have been conducted. According to the surveys’ results, the overall estimated employment in all selected sectors experienced a net addition of 38.81 lakh jobs starting from the first survey of October-December 2008 till the 28th survey of October-December 2015. According to the latest 28th survey results, new jobs in the eight sectors of the economy fell to a six-year low of 1,35,000 in 2015 as against 4.21 lakh jobs in 2014 and 4.19 lakh jobs in 2013.
The proposal to expand the scope of the survey has been in the works for long. In June last year, the labour ministry had formed an expert committee to examine and finalise the coverage and sample size of the survey for generating comprehensive information regarding employment.
Unlike other countries such as US, where employment data comes out every month, India has very few sources to ascertain the employment scenario. Apart from the quarterly employment survey, employment and unemployment data is released through once in every five years survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation.
The last such survey was conducted for 2011-12. The employment data can also be monitored from Annual Survey of Industries, though it includes data only for employees of the registered factories covered by the survey.