Payroll data indication of formal sector, not overall jobs in economy: Govt

The ministry of statistics and programme implementation (Mospi) has issued a consolidated report on payroll count, saying the data provided some perspective on jobs in the formal sector but not on the overall economy.

The ministry cautioned analysts about a possible overlap among subscribers of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), based on which the payroll estimates were established.

"This is the first in the series of employment-related statistics, for selected areas, that the ministry is intending to bring out on a regular basis. As the levels of employment are from various sources, there are elements of overlapping and the estimates are not additive," it said.

The data showed 32.7 million new subscribers to EPFO between September 2017 and February 2018. During this period, 421,665 persons subscribed to the National Pension System under PFRDA but since ESIC data is fuzzy, no clear estimates could be ascertained.

There is duplication, the ministry said, between subscriber data of ESIC and EPFO, as employees are subscribed to the schemes administered by both bodies.

The government has begun issuing reports on the progress made in the formal employment, using data from administrative records. Based on recommendations of a task force on 'improving employment data', led by former NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, Mospi added.

However, the Panagariya-led task force had pointed to "serious limitations" in measuring jobs based on data from the EPFO, ESIC and PFRDA. It said there could be "substantial overlap" across the data and additions to these datasets need not represent new jobs.

"Payroll data from these three organisations would now be released every month. We may as well bid goodbye to the days of analyses based on random sample surveys," NITI Aayog had stated on Friday.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel