Modi-fication of Indian Economic Data As Jobs Problem Emerges
Although economic growth remains incontestably faster in India than in most other countries, worrying signs have emerged in recent months
1 November 2019
Although economic growth remains incontestably faster in India than in most other countries, worrying signs have emerged over the last few months, that the rapid growth of recent years may be slowing down, and that India may have a jobs crisis in the making. And one which the Indian Government - in an election year - might prefer analysts didn't notice.
Recent data to highlight the potential problem are the India Sales Managers Indexes, all of which suggest continuing growth, but also reflect a longer term slowdown in economic activity. From the Headline Sales Managers Index, to the Business Confidence, Market Growth, and Sales Growth indexes, the same story is apparent. Continuing rapid growth but at a significantly lower level than seen in 2017 and 2018.
The most worrying Index of all, and one that clearly reflects some distress in Government circles, is that relating to Jobs, which is now suggesting the job market is growing quite slowly. In a country with a young and rapidly expanding workforce, this spells trouble.
Recent Government action seems to suggest that attempts are being made to cover up the problem. In the words of the Economist newspaper: "The ( Indian ) Government's...alarming innovation has been to discontinue, revise or delay some official data that do not flatter it". The New York Times was a little more direct "India hides jobs data but truth is clear".
In one recent instance, the Business Standard, a respected Indian newspaper, published leaked findings from an unemployment survey produced by the National Sample Survey Office, a