Migration Patterns

Urban Employment in India: Recent Trends and Patterns

Author : G. Raveendran, Martha Alter Chen | 2011
Published By: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

This paper explores trends in urban employment in India, with a focus on urban informal employment (defined as informal wage employment and self-employment in informal enterprises, as well as informal wage employment in formal enterprises and households). It provides an analysis of the overall and growing significance of four groups of urban informal workers at the bottom of the economic pyramid in India: domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, and waste pickers. Together, these groups represent close to one quarter of the total urban workforce and one-third of the urban informal workforce in India today. The data presented are from three rounds of recent large nationwide sample surveys in 1999-00, 2004-05, and 2011-12 after adjusting for census population projections. The data point to significant volatility, with an upswing in self-employment between 2000 and 2005, followed by a reduction in self-employment in the next five years. However, between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the combined share of employment for the four informal groups grew by 12 per cent to represent 41 per cent of urban informal employment, increasing by 20 percentage points among male urban workers but decreasing by 18 percentage points among female urban workers. The data also show that within the urban informal workforce, there are important differences between women and men workers by industrial branch, employment unit, employment status, and specific groups.

URL : http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/Chen-Urban-Employment-India-WIEGO-WP7.pdf

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