New members joining the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation fell to a low of 772,000 in October, which was the lowest this fiscal, despite robust festive demand.
While this represented a 6.07% increase over October 2022, it was a 16.7% drop compared to September 2023. Before this, new entrants to the EPFO were below the 800,000-mark in February and March, but had registered a rebound in intervening months to above the 1 million-mark.
The EPFO’s payroll data is considered a high-frequency indicator of formal sector employment creation. However, since this data is provisional, it tends to be revised in subsequent months.
According to a release by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Wednesday, EPFO added 1.53 million net members in October. “Year-on-year comparison of payroll data reflects an increase of 18.22% in net membership over the previous year during October 2022,” it said.
Payroll data also indicates that about 1.11 million members exited but rejoined EPFO. These members have switched their jobs and re-joined the establishments covered under EPFO and opted to transfer their accumulations instead of applying for final settlement.
A declining trend in number of exits has been observed for the last four months, the ministry said, adding that in absolute terms, the number of members exiting EPFO for the October, 2023 is the lowest in last 12 months.
Month-on-month comparison of industry-wise data displays significant growth in the members working in establishments engaged in the hotel industry, tea establishments, trading and commercial establishments, heavy-fine chemicals, companies offering life insurance, annuities. However, of the total net membership, a bulk of the addition at about 40.27% is from expert services, which consists of manpower suppliers, normal contractors, security services, miscellaneous activities.
Meanwhile, a separate report by the Indian Staffing Federation said that the flexi staffing industry grew by 5.9% growth in the July-September 2023 quarter, compared to the previous quarter. It grew by 12.6% on a year on year basis in the second quarter of the fiscal.