IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th October, 2023 Economy

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Context: The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Sample Survey Office offers essential data on employment, encompassing unemployment rates, labour force participation, worker population ratios, and monthly earnings.


  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is a quarterly survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). It provides estimates of key employment and unemployment indicators at the all-India and state levels, both in rural and urban areas.
    • The PLFS was launched in April 2017 to provide more frequent and timely data on the labour market.
  • The latest data from 2017-18 to 2022-23, shows a consistent decline from 8.7% in 2017-18 to 5.1% in 2022-23 among the population above 15 years of age. This declining trend signifies an improvement in the employment scenario over the years, but it is essential to critically examine the factors contributing to this decline.

Key Points about the Survey

Unemployment Rate (UER)

The unemployment rate, a key metric indicating the proportion of people seeking jobs but unable to find them, has notably decreased. Specifically, for individuals above the age of 15, the UER has fallen from 6.6% to 5.1% in the past year. This decline suggests an improvement in the overall employment scenario.

Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR)

The LFPR measures the total percentage of the population actively seeking employment. In the latest data, the LFPR has seen a significant increase, reaching 54.6% for Indians above 15 years of age. This uptick indicates a growing number of people looking for work.

LFPR for Women

The LFPR for women has shown a substantial rise, reaching 31.6% in the 2022-23 period. This increase points to a higher demand for jobs among women, potentially reflecting positive shifts in societal attitudes towards female employment.

Worker Population Ratio (WPR)

WPR represents the percentage of employed individuals in the total population. The WPR has also experienced growth, offering an alternative perspective on the labour market dynamics.

The WPR for women has similarly increased, contributing to the overall rise in the WPR. This suggests that more women are finding employment opportunities.

Monthly Earnings

The data categorizes monthly earnings into three main types: self-employment, casual wage, and regular wage. While there has been a general increase in incomes after the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth has been modest.

When considering the sharp rise in inflation since late 2019, the relatively stagnant growth in monthly earnings becomes a cause for concern. This stagnant growth implies that people's purchasing power has not significantly improved despite the increase in employment opportunities.

Challenges and Policy Implications

  • The focus should shift from just creating jobs to generating quality employment opportunities. Quality jobs provide stability, fair wages, and avenues for skill development, ensuring long-term economic security for the workforce.
  • While the rise in female LFPR is encouraging, efforts are needed to eliminate gender disparities in wages and ensure equal opportunities in all sectors. Initiatives promoting education and skill development among women can enhance their employability.
  • Tackling inflation is crucial for maintaining the real value of earnings. The government and monetary authorities need to collaborate to formulate policies that control inflation and promote steady wage growth, aligning with the rising cost of living.
  • Investing in education and skill development programs can enhance the employability of the workforce. Aligning educational curricula with industry demands and promoting vocational training can bridge the skills gap, making job seekers more market-ready.
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship can create new job opportunities. Providing financial support, mentorship, and a conducive business environment can empower individuals to start their ventures, leading to job creation and economic growth.
  • Ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of labour market data is crucial for making informed policy decisions. Regular surveys, like PLFS, are essential for monitoring trends, evaluating the impact of policies, and making necessary adjustments to address emerging challenges.


  • India's improving employment situation shows progress, but gender disparities, stagnant wages, and job quality issues remain. Policymakers must adopt a multifaceted approach, promoting inclusive growth, gender equality, skills development, and entrepreneurship to create a robust and resilient job market for all.

Must Read Articles:

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECLINES (Periodic Labour Force Survey): https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/unemployment-rate-declines


Q. What are the major challenges contributing to the high levels of unemployment in India, and what effective policies and strategies can be implemented to address this issue, promote job creation, and ensure sustainable employment opportunities for the diverse Indian workforce?