There is an expectation among a significant number of firms of improvement in employment opportunities in the fourth quarter of this fiscal despite the sluggish economy, according to Business Outlook Survey by industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry.
As per the survey for January-March 2013, majority of India Inc (54.1 per cent), however, expects no change in their employment levels.
"However, expectations have improved as 23.5 per cent foresee an increase in their employment levels in the fourth quarter as compared to 11.7 per cent in the third-quarter," CII said.
According to the survey, over 30 per cent of the firms saw a fall in their staff levels in October-December 2012.
"Expectations for the January-March of 2012-13 reveal that once again majority of the respondent firms (54.1 per cent) expect no change in their employment levels, while 22.4 per cent expect it to decline," the survey said.
The report showed that in the third-quarter of 2012-13, majority of the respondent firms (58.3 per cent) kept their staff levels unchanged as opposed to 30.1 per cent, which saw a fall in their employment levels.
Despite the GDP growth falling to 4.5 per cent in the October-December period of the current financial year compared to 6 per cent in the same period of last fiscal, the CII survey indicated that 43.5 per cent of the respondents expect the Indian economy to expand by 5-5.5 per cent for 2012-13.
"In an indication of improvement in economic growth in 2013-14, majority of the respondents expect GDP growth next year to conform to the official estimates of 6.1-6.7 per cent as forecast in the Economic Survey," it added.
On inflation front, 42 per cent of respondents expect average WPI inflation to lie in a range of 7-8.0 per cent in 2012-13.
For 2013-14, however, 37.4 per cent respondents hope inflation to moderate and come down in to 6-7 per cent.
"Even as the government remains committed to adhering to target of fiscal consolidation, majority of the respondents (62.4 per cent) expect the fiscal deficit to exceed the budgeted estimate of 4.8 per cent for next fiscal," CII said.
On the current account deficit too, the industry chamber said most of the respondents expect it to lie in a range of 4-5 per cent of GDP in both current as well as next fiscal.
Considering all these aspects and reflecting the recent reform steps initiated by the government, the CII Business Confidence Index, which had slipped below the psychological 50 level mark in the third-quarter of the current fiscal, rose to 51.3 in the final quarter.
Commenting on the development, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: "Though the index has strengthened in the final quarter of the current fiscal, it is too early to assume that the slowdown has bottomed out and the green shoots of recovery have begun to emerge."
The industry chamber said majority of the respondents rated high levels of corruption, persisting inflation, threat to continuation of reform process, escalated interest rates and political uncertainty as the major concerns.
"For matching up to the government growth estimates for the next fiscal, it is critical that we remain focused on introducing the critical reform measures.
"The Union Budget 2013-14 has indeed covered some distance in this direction, but more measures are warranted," Banerjee said.
The survey is based on responses from 175 members with 53 per cent of the respondents belonging to large-scale firms, 14.8 per cent from medium-scale firms and 25.2 per cent and 7 per cent from small-scale and micro firms respectively.
Further, 67.2 per cent of the respondents were from manufacturing sector while 31 per cent and 1.7 per cent were from services and primary sectors respectively.