The concept of Labour force also known as the ‘economically active population’ is used by NSSO in collection of data on employment and unemployment. An economically active person is one who is engaged in some economic activity or seeks to engage him/herself in some economic activity. Accordingly, to classify a person as belonging to labour force or not during a reference period, first his/her activity status is determined. The NSSO defines following three broad Activity Status:
i) Working (engaged in an economic activity) i.e. ‘Employed’,
ii) Seeking or available for work i.e. ‘Unemployed’,
iii) Neither seeking nor available for work.
All those persons who were either ‘working’ or ‘seeking or available for work’ during the reference period are classified as being in the ‘labour force’. Those who are ‘working’ are further classified into following categories i) self employed ii) regular salaried/wage employees iii) casual wage labour. Workers are part of the labour force.
A person ‘seeking/available for work’ is the one who did not work due to lack of work but was actively looking for work through various channels like employment exchanges, friends and relatives etc. and was willing/available to work under the prevailing conditions of work and remuneration. Such persons are also the part of labour force.
Persons who were neither ‘working’ nor ‘seeking/available for work’ during the reference period are classified as being outside the labour force. These are students, rentiers, pensioners, those engaged in domestic duties, recipients of remittances, too young persons, etc and casual labourers not working due to sickness.