Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) – Quarterly Bulletin [October-December 2020]

New Delhi : Considering the importance of availability of labour force data at more frequent time intervals, National Statistical Office (NSO) launched Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in April 2017.

The objective of PLFS is primarily twofold:

  • to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the ‘Current Weekly Status’ (CWS).
  • to estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both ‘Usual Status’ (ps+ss) and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.

On the basis of the data collected in PLFS, three Annual Reports of PLFS corresponding to the periods July 2017 – June 2018, July 2018 – June 2019 and July 2019 – June 2020 covering both rural and urban areas giving estimates of all important parameters of employment and unemployment in both usual status (ps+ss) and current weekly status (CWS) have been released.

Besides these Annual Reports, eight Quarterly Bulletins of PLFS corresponding to the quarters covered during the period December 2018 to September 2020 have already been released. In these quarterly bulletins estimates of labour force indicators, viz., Worker population ratio (WPR), Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), Unemployment Rate (UR), distribution of workers by broad status in employment and industry of work in the Current Weekly Status (CWS) for urban areas have been presented.

The present Quarterly Bulletin in the ninth in the series for the quarter October- December 2020.

B.         Sample Design of PLFS

A rotational panel sampling design has been used in urban areas. In this rotational panel scheme, each, selected household in urban areas is visited four times, in the beginning with ‘First Visit Schedule’ and thrice periodically later with a ‘Revisit Schedule’. The scheme of rotation ensures that 75% of the first-stage sampling units (FSUs)[1] are matched between two consecutive visits.

C.         Sample Size

At the all-India level, in the urban areas, a total number of 5,563 FSUs (UFS blocks) have been surveyed during the quarter October – December 2020. The number of urban households surveyed was 43,693 and number of persons surveyed was 1,71,553  in urban areas.

  1. Conceptual Framework of Key Employment and Unemployment Indicators for the Quarterly Bulletin: The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) gives estimates of Key employment and unemployment Indicators like the Labour Force Participation Rates (LFPR), Worker Population Ratio (WPR), Unemployment Rate (UR), etc. These indicators, and the and ‘Current Weekly Status’ are defined as follows:
  1. Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
  1. Worker Population Ratio (WPR): WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
  1. Unemployment Rate (UR): UR is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force.
  1. Activity Status- Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person.
  1. The Quarterly Bulletin for the quarter October – December 2020 is available at the website of the Ministry (  The key results are given in the statements annexed.


Key Findings of PLFS, Quarterly Bulletin (October -December 2020)

Statement 1:  LFPR (in per cent) in CWS in urban areas for persons of age 15 years and above


NSS survey period Male Female Person
(1) (2) (3) (4)
October – December 2019 73.8 21.1 47.8
January – March 2020 73.7 21.9 48.1
April – June 2020 71.7 19.6 45.9
July- September 2020 73.5 20.3   47.2
October – December 2020 73.6 20.6 47.3

Statement 2:  WPR (in per cent) in CWS in urban areas for persons of age 15 years and above


NSS survey period Male Female Person
(1) (2) (3) (4)
October – December 2019 68.4 19.0 44.1
January – March 2020 67.3 19.6 43.7
April – June 2020 56.9 15.5 36.4
July- September 2020 64.3 17.1 40.9
October – December 2020 66.7 17.9 42.4

Statement 3:  UR (in per cent) in CWS in urban areas for persons of age 15 years and above


NSS survey period Male Female Person
(1) (2) (3) (4)
October – December 2019 7.3 9.8 7.8
January – March 2020 8.6 10.6 9.1
April – June 2020 20.7 21.1 20.8
July- September 2020 12.6    15.8          13.2
October – December 2020 9.5 13.1 10.3