Some aspects of the trends in employment and unemployment in Bihar and Kerala since the 1970s

T. N. Srinivasan, Treb Allen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Srinivasan (2007a, 2007b, 2009), the trends in employment and unemployment since the early 1970s in India were analyzed. Although there are many sources of data on employment and unemployment, the definition of worker, employment status, etc., are not the same in all sources and have even varied over time within the same source, as for example, in the decennial population censuses. In addition, coverage in most sources is limited in terms of geographical area, sectors, and in other ways. Some sources such as the Economic Census are of recent origin, having been initiated in 1977 while the population census goes back to 1881! The two main sources for all India coverage are the population census (PC) and the Employment and Unemployment Surveys (EUS) of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), although their methods of data collection and their limitations differ. The EUS was carried out by the NSSO in its ninth round (May–September 1955), also in the seventeenth through twentieth rounds for the urban sector, and again for rural and urban sectors in the twenty-sevventh round (1972–73). Only from the thirty-second round (1977–78) the EUS formally became part of the national quinquennial household surveys of the NSSO, using essentially identical concepts of employment and unemployment. Apart from the large quinquennial surveys, the NSSO also collects data annually from a smaller sample of households. The report of the National Commission on Labour (NCL, 2002) includes a comprehensive discussion of sources of data. The estimates of employment and unemployment from the rounds other than quinquennial rounds in which EUS is conducted, particularly those meant for Enterprise Surveys (ESs), besides having larger sampling errors because of their smaller sample sizes (particularly at the state and regional levels), they are suspected to be biased. However, no concrete evidence has thus far been adduced in support of suspected biases from these rounds. Moreover, the sample sizes at the State and All India levels for these rounds, although considerably smaller than those for the quinquennial rounds, are still sufficiently large to produce reliable estimates, albeit with higher sampling errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEconomic Reform in India
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges, Prospects, and Lessons
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages52
ISBN (Electronic)9781139096638
ISBN (Print)9781107020047
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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