Periodic Labour Force Survey 

#GS2 #Governance 

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is an initiative aimed at generating estimates of various labour force indicators. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducts the survey. 

  • 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. 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. 

Key definitions  

  • Key employment and unemployment Indicators covered included Labour Force Participation Rates (LFPR), Worker Population Ratio (WPR), and Unemployment Rate (UR). 
  • LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population. 
  • WPR is the percentage of employed persons in the population. 
  • UR is the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force. 
  • Findings of the PLFS 2018-19 – 
  • India’s unemployment rate improved from the 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18 to 5.8% in 2018-19. 
  • The labour force participation rate also improved marginally, from 36.9% in 2017-18 to 37.5% in 2018-19. The report shows the dip came across all categories, though women and rural workers showed the most improvement. 
  • Women’s unemployment fell from 5.7% to 5.2%, while male unemployment only fell from 6.2% to 6%. 
  • Urban unemployment was still at a high of 7.7% in 2018-19, a marginal drop from 7.8% in 201718, while rural unemployment fell from 5.3% to 5%. 


  • It seems policies meant to gain from demographic dividend have not worked well, as data shows UR among youth (15-29 years) is as high as 17.3 per cent, though lower than 17.8 per cent during previous year. Rate is much higher in urban areas where nearly 1 out of every five youth is unemployed. Also, among urban female, one out of every four is out of job. 
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