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PLFS Data for July-September 2023


The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), recently released data for July-September 2023, shedding light on India’s unemployment rate in urban areas.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent PLFS Highlights: Urban Unemployment, Worker Population Ratio, and LFPR
  2. Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Overview
  3. Types of Unemployment in India
  4. Causes of Unemployment in India

Recent PLFS Highlights: Urban Unemployment, Worker Population Ratio, and LFPR

Urban Unemployment:
  • The urban unemployment rate showed improvement, declining from 7.2% (July–September 2022) to 6.6% (July–September 2023).
  • Among males, the unemployment rate decreased from 6.6% to 6% during the same period.
  • Females witnessed a more positive trend, with the unemployment rate decreasing from 9.4% to 8.6% over the given time frame.
Worker Population Ratio (WPR):
  • The percentage of employed individuals in the population (aged 15 years and above) in urban areas increased from 44.5% (July-September 2022) to 46% (July-September 2023).
  • Among males, the WPR increased from 68.6% to 69.4% during the same period.
  • For females, there was a more substantial increase, rising from 19.7% to 21.9%.
Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR):
  • The LFPR in urban areas exhibited growth, rising from 47.9% (July-September 2022) to 49.3% (July-September 2023).
  • Among males, there was a marginal uptick from 73.4% to 73.8% during this period.
  • Females showed a more significant increase, with the LFPR increasing from 21.7% to 24.0%.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Overview:

  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey was launched by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in April 2017.
  • The survey was initiated to address the need for more frequent and timely availability of labor force data.
  • To estimate key employment and unemployment indicators within a short time interval of three months specifically for urban areas using the “Current Weekly Status” (CWS) approach.
  • To estimate employment and unemployment indicators annually using both the “Usual Status” (ps+ss) and CWS approaches for both rural and urban areas.

The PLFS focuses on estimating the following indicators:

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): It represents the percentage of individuals in the population who are part of the labor force, which includes those who are employed, seeking work, or available for work.
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR): This indicator represents the percentage of employed individuals in the population.
  • Unemployment Rate (UR): The UR indicates the percentage of individuals who are unemployed among those in the labor force.
Current Weekly Status (CWS):
  • CWS refers to the activity status of individuals based on their activities during the preceding seven days before the survey.
Conducting Authority:
  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey is conducted by the National Sample Survey (NSO), which operates under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

Types of Unemployment in India

  • Disguised Unemployment: This is a situation in which more people are employed than are required. It is mostly seen in India’s agricultural and unorganised sectors.
  • Seasonal unemployment: Unemployment that happens only during particular seasons of the year. In India, agricultural labourers rarely work throughout the year.
  • Structural Unemployment: This is a type of unemployment that occurs when there is a mismatch between the jobs available and the abilities of the available workers.
  • Cyclical unemployment: Unemployment that rises during recessions and falls with economic expansion. It is mostly a phenomenon of capitalist economies.
  • Frictional Unemployment:  It is also known as Search Unemployment, is the time lag between jobs when someone is looking for a new job or moving jobs.

Causes of Unemployment in India

  • Jobs in the capitalist world have become highly specialised but India’s education system does not provide the right training and specialisation needed for these jobs.
  • In India nearly half of the workforce is dependent on Agriculture – even though agriculture is underdeveloped in India and only provides seasonal employment.
  • Mobility of labour in India is low due to factors like language, religion, and climate.
  • The industrial development had adverse effects on cottage and small industries – as the cottage industries fall, many artisans become unemployed.
  • Constant increase in population has been a big problem and one of the main causes of unemployment.
  • Certain work is prohibited for specific castes in some areas and this also contributes to unemployment.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024