Periodic Labour Force Survey: History and Government Initiative

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 2, 2023, 16:45

The unemployment rate declined to 4.8 per cent in 2019 – 2020, according to the NSO's 3rd yearly survey on the Periodic Labour Force Survey, which was held between July 2019 and June 2020.

The periodic labour force survey (PLFS) was created by a committee that's under the MoS&PI- Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to create a survey technique, including sample size, on the proposal of the National Statistical Commission (NSC).

Why in news?

The third annual report on the Periodic Labour Force Survey, which was held between July 2019 and June 2020, was recently issued by the NSO- National Statistical Office.

  • In comparison to the previous two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19, labour metrics improved across the board in 2019-20.

Periodic Labour Force Survey Background

  • The NSO launched India's first computer-based Periodic Labour Force survey in 2017.
  • It was formed following the recommendations of a committee led by Amitabh Kundu.
  • It basically depicts the country's employment situation. It does so by gathering data on a variety of factors such as unemployment rates, different occupations and their relative shares, earnings obtained from various sorts of occupations, number of working hours, and so on.
  • Prior to the Periodic Labour Force Survey, the NSSO- the National Sample Survey Office —the NSO's former name—was used to collect data on employment and unemployment through its quinquennial (every five years) household socio-economic survey programme.

*NSO- National Statistical Office*

  • National Statistical Office is the government's major statistics agency, overseen by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, and authorized by the Statistical Services Act, 1980.
  • They collect and compile the information for the government and for other users in order to satisfy their information needs for policymaking, development, monitoring, and administrative choices. Collecting, compiling, and publishing official statistics data are among the services it provides.


  • To evaluate the important employment and unemployment statistics (WPR, LFPR, and UR) for metropolitan regions exclusively in the Latest Weekly Status for a short time span of 3 months.
  • Annually assess employment and unemployment metrics under both normal and CWS conditions in rural and urban locations.

Key Highlights

  • In 2019-20, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 per cent. In 2018-19, it was 5.8%, compared to 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
  • In 2019-20, the Worker Population Rate increased to 38.2 per cent, up from 35.3 per cent in 2018-19 and 34.7 per cent in 2017-18.
  • In 2019-20, the Labour Force Participation Ratio grew to 40.1 per cent, up from 37.5 per cent and 36.9 per cent in the previous two years.
  • Male and female gender-based unemployment rates declined to 5.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent in 2019-20, respectively, from 6 per cent and 5.2 per cent in 2018-19.

Government Initiatives to Combat Unemployment in the upcoming years

  • Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Central government has proposed a stimulus package to help the Indian economy and generate employment.
  • The Central Government provides street sellers with inexpensive loans through the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor's Atma Nirbhar Nidhi.
  • The Central government is providing financial guarantees to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which also will make it easier for them to get loans and improve their operations.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana aims to help entrepreneurs start small businesses by providing financial assistance.
  • The administration has also made a number of additional efforts to help the economy, such as relaxing the Companies Act and insolvency processes, reforming agri-marketing, and so on.
  • The government has also made steps to decrease gender-based inequality in salaries, recruiting, and working conditions.
  • Individual states have also taken steps to boost their economies and create more employment.

*Key Terms*

Unemployment Rate

The Unemployment Rate (UR) is the percentage of people who are jobless out of the total workforce.

Labour Force Participation Rate

The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is the proportion of the population that is in the labour force (i.e. working, looking for work, or actively seeking work).

Worker Population Ratio 

The Worker Population Ratio (WPR) is the percentage of people who are employed in the population.

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FAQs About Periodic Labour Force Survey

What is the Periodic Labour Force Survey?

-The Periodic Labour Force Survey provides yearly and quarterly evaluations of key employment and unemployment indicators such as the labour participation rate, employee population ratio, proportion of jobless etc.

Who carries out the Periodic Labour Force Survey in India?

-National Statistical Office (NSO) carries out the Periodic Labour Force Survey in India.

Which state has the highest unemployment rate according to the Periodic Labour force survey?

-Among the Indian states, Meghalaya has the lowest unemployment rate, while Haryana has the highest unemployment rate according to the Periodic Labour force survey.