Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)

Context: Recently, the National Statistical Office (NSO) released the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for July 2018 to June 2019.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)

PLFS is India’s first computer-based survey which gives estimates of key employment and unemployment indicators like the labour force participation rate, worker population ratio, proportion unemployed and unemployment rate in rural households annually and on a quarterly basis for the urban households.

  • The PLFS also gives the distribution of educated and unemployed people, which in turn can be used as a basis for skilling of youth to make them more employable by industry.
  • The survey was launched in 2017 and the first annual report was released (July 2017-June 2018), covering both rural and urban areas, in May 2019.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducts the survey. It conducts 2 types of surveys

  • Quarterly survey (For urban areas only) – Captures only the current weekly status (CWS) data.
  • Annual survey (For both rural and urban areas) – Measures both the usual status and CWS.

Dimensions used

  • NSSO’s definition of ‘employment’ includes in itself ‘self-employment’ as well as ‘wage employment’.
  • Within the category of ‘self-employed’, the survey also counts those engaged in ‘unpaid family labour’.
  • Both the locational and gender dimensions are considered.

Important Definitions:

  1. Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): It is the percentage of people in the labour force (those who are working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
  2. Worker Population Ratio (WPR): is the percentage of employed people.
  3. Unemployment Rate (UR): shows the percentage of people unemployed among the labour force.
  4. Unemployed: A person who is unable to get work for even an hour in the last seven days despite seeking employment is considered unemployed.
  5. Female Labour Force Participation Rate: It is the share of working-age women who report either being employed, or being available for work.
  6. Educated unemployment rate: Defined as unemployment among those with at least a secondary school certificate. The unemployment rates go up as levels of education go up.  Educated persons have aspirations for specific jobs and hence likely to go through a longer waiting period than their less-educated counterparts.
  7. Youth unemployment rate: unemployment among those in the 15-29 years age category
  8. Activity Status: The activity status of a person is determined on the basis of the activities pursued by the person during the specified reference period.
    • Usual Status: The activity status determined on the basis of the reference period of the last 365 days preceding the date of survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.
    • Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of the last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person.

Key findings:

  • India’s unemployment rate fell between July 2018 and June 2019 to 5.8% from 6.1% during the same period of 2017-18, even as the labour force participation rate rose to 37.5% from 36.9%.
  • The urban unemployment rate reduced to 7.7% from 7.8%.
  • The rural unemployment reduced to 5% from 5.3%.
  • The worker population ratio also increased, to 35.3% as against 34.7% in the 2017-18.
  • Urban unemployment rate reduced to 7.7% in 2018-19 from 7.8% and in rural India to 5% from 5.3%.
  • Female participation rate improved in both urban and rural India during the period under review, going up to 18.6% in 2018-19 from 17.5% the year before.

Challenges ahead:

According to monthly data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, unemployment rate in India shot up significantly from 7.87% in June 2019 to 23.48% in May 2020

The long nationwide lockdown between March and June to prevent the spread of Covid-19, resulting in job losses across sectors.

Recent Government Initiatives to Tackle Unemployment caused due to Covid 19 disruption and lockdowns

  • The Union government has come up with an economic stimulus package under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to support the Indian economy and create jobs.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), the Union Government is providing affordable loans to street vendors.
  • The government has allocated an additional fund of Rs 40,000 crore for MGNREGA, as part of the stimulus package.
  • The government is offering credit guarantees for MSMEs which will help them in getting loans easily and boost their functioning.
  • Various other initiatives have also been taken by the government to support the economy which includes relaxation in Companies Act and Insolvency proceedings, reforms in agri- marketing
  • State governments have also come up with the initiative to support their economy and increase jobs.
  • Andhra Pradesh government’s ‘ReStart’ programme to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector in the State.
  • Jharkhand has launched three employment schemes to create wage employment for workers in rural areas
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