Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Quarterly Bulletin: July-September 2022


The National Statistical Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, initiated the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in April 2017. The survey provides estimates for indicators such as the labour force participation rate (LFPR), the worker population ratio (WPR), and includes data on the employment status of workers and the sector (agriculture, secondary or tertiary) they work in. It also supplies data on the unemployment rate (UR) in the country. Data is calculated as per the current weekly status (CWS), that is, “on the basis of a reference period of last seven days preceding the date of survey.” The results of the survey are released in the form of quarterly bulletins, each covering three months of the survey year. 

This quarterly bulletin – covering the period of July to September 2022 – is the sixteenth publication in the PLFS series. The data collection for this bulletin concluded in October 2022. The survey for this quarter covered 171,225 individuals from 44,358 households in 5,669 urban frame survey (UFS) blocks across the country. The sample included 86,970 men and 84,245 women. Additionally, the report provides data from the four preceding quarters: April-June 2022, January-March 2022, October-December 2021, and July-September 2021.

The 63-page document contains three sections: Introduction (Section 1); Key findings (Section 2); and Sample Size (Section 3).


  1. The ‘labour force’ is the share of the population “which supplies or offers to supply labour for pursuing economic activities” and thus includes both employed and unemployed people. The labour force participation rate (LFPR) measures the share of labour force within a population. The country-level LFPR for July-September 2022 (as per the current weekly status) was 37.6 per cent – 57.1 per cent among men and 17.2 per cent among women.

  2. During the same quarter (July to September 2022) in urban areas, Delhi recorded the lowest female LFPR at 6.8 per cent. The lowest figure for men – 48.3 per cent – was noted in Bihar.

  3. The worker population ratio (WPR) is termed as the “percentage of workers in the population”. The worker population ratio in India, in the third quarter of 2022, was 34.9 per cent. The percentage amongst men (53.3 per cent) was considerably higher than amongst women (15.5 per cent).

  4. The WPR for those aged 15 years and above was 44.5 per cent – 68.6 per cent among men and 19.7 per cent among women. Himachal Pradesh registered the highest WPR for females (21.6 per cent) whereas Bihar registered the lowest (6.1 per cent). The WPR among men was highest in Gujarat (59.3 per cent) and lowest in Bihar (44 per cent).

  5. The PLFS also outlines the percentage of workers across three categories: self-employed, regular wage/salaried employee and casual labour. During the period of July-September 2022, most of the workers surveyed (48.7 per cent) were salaried employees or earned regular wages. Around 39.7 per cent were self-employed and 11.6 per cent were engaged in casual labour. Casual labour is defined as labour which is of “casual or seasonal or intermittent nature.”

  6. Of the people surveyed (aged 15 years and above), 46.9 per cent men were salaried employees compared to 55 per cent of women. Those self-employed numbered 40.2 per cent among men compared to 37.7 per cent among women. As many as 12.8 per cent of male workers and 7.3 per cent of female workers were engaged in casual labour.

  7. The survey also outlines the distribution of workers across agricultural, secondary (mining and quarrying among others) and tertiary sectors. In the third quarter of 2022, 5.7 per cent people (4.8 per cent men and 8.9 per cent women) in urban areas were employed in the agricultural sector.

  8. Around 33.4 per cent people (35.1 per cent men and 27.1 per cent women) were employed in the secondary sector. A majority of the people surveyed (60.9 per cent) worked in the tertiary sector.

  9. Following the current weekly status approach, a person is considered unemployed if they have not worked even for an hour during the reference week but looked for work or were available for employment. The unemployment rate (UR) is the “percentage of unemployed persons in the labour force.” The UR among workers of all ages was 7.2 per cent (6.6 per cent among men and 9.5 per cent among women).

  10. The unemployment rate was noted to be higher among workers aged 15-29 years at 18.5 per cent. It was 16.7 per cent among the male labour force and 24.7 per cent among the female labour force.

  11. Of the states and union territories for which the survey provides data, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest unemployment rate (13 per cent) during July-September 2022. It was followed by Rajasthan with a 12.6 per cent unemployment rate. Gujarat, on the other hand, recorded the lowest – 2.9 per cent.

    Focus and Factoids by Devanshi Parekh.


National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi


24 Nov, 2022