ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Consistency in NSSO Employment–Unemployment Estimates Using NSS 68th Round and PLFS Data

The unemployment rate in the country increased sharply to 6.1%, as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017–18 data, from 2.2%, based on the National Sample Survey, 68th round, 2011–12. A few have raised questions regarding methodological differences, mainly concerning the second-stage household sample stratification procedure not adopted in proportion to the respective population share. In the PLFS, this stratification is based on the number of matriculates per household and, in the NSS 68th round, on the level of per capita expenditure. It is found that the results obtained in each of these data sets are robust for the strata on the basis of which the surveys were conducted, respectively, and hence, both are reliable and comparable.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted household surveys on employment–unemployment at regular intervals of five to six years (quinquennial rounds) till the National Sample Survey (NSS) 68th round (2011–12) (NSSO 2013). These are widely considered to be the most reliable source of employment–unemployment estimates and is extensively used at the national, state, and regional levels.

The quinquennial NSS 68th round data were recently rep­laced with the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), which is undertaken every year, as recommended by a task force headed by the former head of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya. The task force recommended using technology to speed up data collection and processing to make timely data available for policy planners and researchers to make informed decisions. However, this shift to the annual PLFS was accompanied by a sharp rise in unemployment rates to 6.1% during 2017–18 (NSO 2019) compared to the 2.2% derived on the basis of the NSS 68th round for 2011–12 (NSSO 2013). This sharp rise caused considerable debate on the different sampling methodologies used in the PLFS as compared to the NSS 68th round. A review of their sample designs, however, reveals broad similarities at the first stage of stratification. In the NSS, regions consist of one or more complete districts within various states. In the NSS 68th round, the various blocks and villages within a district are arranged in ascending order of their population size. Various strata of equal population size are then formed separately for groups of villages and blocks. In the PLFS, a similar stratification is done for villages for the entire NSS region rather than at the district level as is the case in the NSS 68th round. In the PLFS, the towns in NSS regions are
categorised depending on the size of the town population, and first-stage units are selected by probability proportional to the number of households as per the latest Urban Frame Survey (UFS) block data. Thus, there is a broad similarity in methodologies despite some differences, as both methods allow the selection of similar kinds of villages and blocks within each NSS region.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Updated On : 19th Nov, 2022
Back to Top