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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Odisha seems worst affected by the economic slowdown. The biggest toll seems to have been on the job creation in the State. Odisha is the only State in the country to record a consistent dip in new recruits in the country.

The prevalence of such a gloomy scenario in Odisha has been revealed by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) recently released report.

In tandem with the country recording slowest ever GDP growth rate in last 6-years during the period of April - June this fiscal year, the net new payroll data shows a high of 14 per cent drop in new EPFO subscribers in the State.  And Odisha is the only State nationally to record such a distressing trend, especially in the age-group of 18-25 years.

Sample this. The country as a whole is claimed to have posted a 28 per cent rise in new net subscribers on payroll. As per the EPFO data, the net new subscribers on payrolls in the 18-25 years age-group were around 4.8 lakh in April 2019, which jumped to 6.2 lakh in June 2019.

In contrast, the State had recorded a total of 3, 895 net new subscribers on payroll in April 2019, which dropped to 3,348 in June 2019 registering a fall of over 14 per cent in the first quarter (Apr-Jun).

An analysis shows the net new recruits in the country have risen as expert services emerged as the top job provider nationally. Experts services by definition is services that give expertise services like banking, finance, Insurance, stocks and professional services like auditors, architects, media etc.

Notably, the expert services sector has not posted any deceleration in its growth rate. Data shows professional and expertise services have grown at over 7 per cent in the first quarter (Apr-Jun) of 2019-20.

The decline in new recruits in the first quarter this year in Odisha has been attributed to steep fall in job vacancies in the administrative & support services, information & communication and real estate sectors.

The fact of immense significance here is Odisha has never been a top job provider in the country. The State figured in bottom -5 among 23 major states, including UT like Delhi, in the year 2018-19.

According to the EPFO data, in the year 2018-19, when Odisha recorded as many as 34,665 new recruits, the country had seen a massive 64.5 lakh new recruitments.

Why the EPFO net payroll data is significant to assess creation of new jobs in India? According to the Centre for Statistical Organisation (CSO), the EPFO net payroll data measures new job creations in the formal or organised sector.

Moreover, as per SBI Group Chief Economic Advisor Dr Soumya Kanti Ghosh and IIM Bangalore Professor Pulak Ghosh, EPFO’s net payroll data for 18-25 years with non-zero contributions indicate the high probability of new recruited ones in a month/year.

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