One of the major statistical hurdles in our country is the estimation of reliable employment and unemployment data. The NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) was historically conducting Employment and Unemployment Surveys as part of its National Sample Surveys. These surveys were the prime source for statistics about employment and unemployment situation in the country.

Starting of PLFS

But from 2017 onwards, a nationwide Labour Force Survey called Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) was launched by the NSSO. The PLFS was aimed to provide quarterly employment and unemployment data. Report of the PLFS was expected in December 2018 but was postponed.

The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) was launched from 1st April 2017. Primary aim of the PLFS is to generate reasonably accurate indicators of labour market at a short span for every quarter for which speed of quality data collection and processing are important.

Quarterly changes of various indicators of the labour market in urban areas as well as to generate the annual estimates of different labour force indicators both in rural and urban areas are the supplementary objectives of the PLFS.

Results of the PLFS will be brought out in the form of an Annual Key Report, which would contain detailed tables for both rural and urban sectors, and Quarterly Bulletins, which would contain, for the urban sector, estimates of the changes in key labour force parameters like LFPR, WPR and UR in the current weekly status.

Annual estimates (for both rural and urban areas) would be generated for major parameters like:

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR),
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR),
  • Unemployment Rate (UR),
  • Distribution of workers by industry, occupation, workers employed in informal sector and
  • Conditions of employment of the workers.

The Quarterly estimates (for urban areas only) would be generated for the key labour force parameters like LFPR, WPR and UR in CWS and the estimates of their change would also be generated.

The first results of the PLFS was scheduled to be available by December 2018 and from thereafter on a regular basis (release of the data was postponed as a result of higher unemployment figure).

The PLFS is designed to generate the indicators of labour market operations using two approaches:

(i) Usual Status (US) approach and

(ii) Current Weekly Status (CWS) approach.

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) Method has been adopted to get quick data.  World Bank CAPI software (Survey Solutions) has been customised to the Indian requirement to conduct the survey.