New Delhi: At least 820,336 new people joined formal work in January, almost 27,000 less than December, according to fresh payroll data of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) released on Saturday. “Number of new EPF subscribers” was 847,132 in December and it was 699,894 in November, according to the fresh payroll data.

Of the new EPF subscriber additions in January, 441,982 are in the 18-25 age group, considered crucial as they are seen as first timers in the labour market. In December, at least 469, 927 fresh additions were reported from this age group. In a way, the fall in the new subscribers are largely in this category of workers, which indicates the stretch as well as stagnation in the labour market.

However, the net payroll additions, which is calculated taking into account the new additions, number of exits, and the return of old subscribers, was pegged at 1.11 million in January as against 1.05 million in December, official numbers showed.

To be sure, the monthly payroll numbers are provisional in nature and their number fluctuates. But among the new EPF subscribers base is accepted with more trust than the net additions as the later fluctuates more.

For example, in February EPFO had pegged net payroll additions at 1.25 million for December 2020, which was lowered to 1.05 million for the same month in the fresh data sets released on Saturday.

Whereas, the new EPF subscribers number was revised upward to 847,132 for the month of December from 804,035 pegged last month for the same period.

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