Did Employment Rise or Fall in India between 2011 and 2017- Estimating Absolute Changes in the Workforce

Azim Premji University,


The recently released data from the 2017 – 2018 Periodic Labour Force Survey have created a controversy regarding the quantity of employment generated in the past few years in India. Estimates ranging from an absolute increase of 23 million to an absolute decline of 15.5 million have been published. In this paper we show that some of the variation in estimates can be explained by the way in which populations are projected based on Census 2011 data. We estimate the change in employment using the cohort-component method of population projection. We show that for men total employment rose but the increase fell far short of the increase in working age population. For women, employment fell. The decline is concentrated among women engaged in part-time or occasional work in agriculture and construction. 


  • Paaritosh Nath
  • Amit Basole