Wage Distress

Wage Distress

News: According to Labour Bureau data, in 2022-23, the growth rate of real wages was just 0.2% for male agricultural labourers, and it is negative for non-agricultural labourers and construction workers.

What are wage growth rate trends in the past decade?
 The real wages of male agricultural labourers, non-agricultural labourers and construction workers grew at less — much less — than 1% per year between 2014-15 and 2021-22.
 It is just 0.8% per year for agricultural labour, 0.2% for non-agricultural labour and slightly negative for construction workers (men only).

How do growth rate trends change if one alters the methodology?
 The “unpack-repack method” - If one calculates state-specific, month-specific year-on-year growth rates, and then aggregates them using unweighted averages over months and population-weighted averages over states, the results will change. In that case, the real wages will be rising fast between 2014-15 and 2018-19.
 Calculating annual growth rates - If one calculates under this method, then the real wages are much the same today as in 2014-15.

Which method should be preferred?
 Labour Bureau data clearly point to near-stagnation of informal-sector real wages in recent years.
 The wage data collected by the Centre for Labour Research and Action reveal a steady decline in real wages of brick-kiln workers in the last 10 years.
Source – The Indian Express

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