Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Quarterly Bulletin: October-December 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 in urban areas 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 October to December 2022 – is the seventeenth publication in the PLFS series. The data collection for this bulletin concluded in December 2022. The survey for this quarter covered 171,803 individuals from 44,722 households in 5,706 urban frame survey (UFS) blocks across the country. The sample included 87,185 men and 84,608 women. Additionally, the report provides data from the four preceding quarters: July-September 2022, April-June 2022, January-March 2022 and October-December 2021.

The 63-page document comprises of 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 LFPR for this quarter was 37.9 per cent. Among girls and women aged 15 years and above the LFPR (as per current weekly status) increased compared to the four preceding quarters and reached 22.3 per cent. Among men in the same age group, the LFPR was recorded at 73.3 per cent.

  2. In the same quarter (October to December 2022) in urban areas, Himachal Pradesh had the highest general LFPR (44 per cent) and Bihar had the lowest (29.8 per cent). Among women of all ages, the highest and lowest LFPRs were recorded in Himachal Pradesh (28.4 per cent) and Delhi (6.6 per cent).

  3. The worker population ratio (WPR) is termed as the “percentage of workers in the population.” The WPR also shows a similar trend of increased female worker participation growing from 15.5 per cent in the previous quarter to 16 per cent. The WPR among men also rose a little to 53.5 per cent. In this quarter, West Bengal recorded the highest WPR among people of all ages at 40.1 per cent and Bihar recorded the lowest at 26.5 per cent.

  4. The WPR for those aged 15-29 years was 31.8 per cent – 47.8 per cent among men and 14.3 per cent among women. West Bengal registered the highest WPR for women (22.2 per cent) in this age group whereas Bihar registered the lowest (4.4 per cent). The WPR among men was also highest in West Bengal (55.4 per cent) and lowest in Bihar (38.1 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 October-December 2022, most of the workers surveyed (48.6 per cent) were salaried employees or earned regular wages. Around 39.6 per cent were self-employed and 11.8 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 54.5 per cent of women. Those self-employed numbered 40.1 per cent among men compared to 37.9 per cent among women. As many as 13 per cent of male workers and 7.6 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 fourth quarter of 2022, 6.1 per cent people (five per cent men and 9.8 per cent women) in urban areas were employed in the agricultural sector. Around 33 per cent people (34.8 per cent men and 26.6 per cent women) were employed in the secondary sector. A majority of the people surveyed (61 per cent) worked in the tertiary sector.

  8. Comparing the worker distribution across sectors, the data shows that Assam had the highest percentage of people (74.53 per cent) in the tertiary sector. Gujarat had the highest percentage of its worker population engaged in the secondary sector (49.53 per cent) whereas Chhattisgarh has the highest in the primary sector (13.63 per cent).

  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 (6.5 per cent among men and 9.6 per cent among women).

  10. The UR among workers aged 15-29 years marginally increased from 18.5 per cent in the previous quarter to 18.6 per cent in this quarter. It was 16.6 per cent among men and 25.1 per cent among women.

  11. Of the states and union territories for which the survey provides data, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest unemployment rate (34.2 per cent) among those aged 15-29 years during October-December 2022. It was followed by Rajasthan with a 33.8 per cent unemployment rate. Gujarat, on the other hand, recorded the lowest – 6.4 per cent.


    Focus and Factoids by Inbarasan K. G.


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


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


24 Feb, 2023