The National Sample Survey Office, under the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has released its annual summary of the Periodic Labour Force Survey, or PLFS. The report covers the period between July 2021 and June 2022, which of course means that it takes on the period immediately after the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India. The PLFS is used to calculate an unemployment rate for India. The report says that during 2021-22 this metric declined, as compared to 2020-21, to 3.2 per cent from 3.3 per cent in rural areas and from 6.7 per cent to 6.3 per cent in urban areas. This direction of travel is gratifying, if not unexpected, given the recovery from the pandemic. However, there are many questions attached to the use of a regular unemployment rate — the number of those searching for work but unable to find it, as a proportion of the regular workforce — in India. These include the large number of those self-employed, the presence of d
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