The latest payroll data from the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) indicates a slight dip in the creation of new formal jobs in July, signalling stagnation in the labour market. New monthly subscribers to the employees' provident fund (EPF) declined by 1.2 per cent to 1.02 million in July, compared to 1.03 million in June.
The data revealed that of the 1,027,145 new subscribers in July, the share of young subscribers between the ages of 18 and 28 increased to 68.3 per cent (701,543) from 67.5 per cent (701,315) in June. This increase is significant as subscribers in this age bracket are often entering the labour market for the first time, serving as a barometer for its health.
Conversely, the proportion of women gaining employment declined to 26.8 per cent (274,967) in July from 27.6 per cent (286,984) in June.
Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of TeamLease Services, noted that although there was a minor slowdown in July, the hiring momentum established earlier in the financial year is expected to persist in the short to medium term, particularly with the onset of the festive season, which typically stimulates job creation.
Additionally, net payroll additions — calculated based on new subscribers, exits, and returning old subscribers — increased by 18.8 per cent to 1.87 million in July from 1.57 million in June. However, these figures are provisional and subject to revision.
The Labour Ministry stated that about 1.3 million members exited but rejoined the EPFO in the last 12 months, the highest number in a year. These members opted to transfer their accumulations instead of applying for final settlements, thus extending their social security protection.
A state-wise breakdown reveals that the highest net member additions occurred in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Haryana. These states accounted for approximately 58.78 per cent of the total, adding 11.02 lakh members during the month. The EPFO does not release separate data for new subscribers in individual states.
The monthly EPFO data forms part of a broader government effort to monitor formal-sector employment, an initiative led by the National Statistical Office since April 2018.