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Usual Status Unemployment

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The Usual Status approach to measuring unemployment uses a reference period of 365 days i.e. one year preceding the date of the survey of NSSO for measuring unemployment.

The Usual Status approach of measuring unemployment also looks at the principal activity and subsidiary activity status of the worker.

Thus the first step to estimate employment numbers and unemployment rate through this approach involves determination of the Principal usual activity status of the individual.

Usual Principal Status (UPS) or Usual Status (PS)

The status of activity on which a person has spent relatively longer time of the preceding 365 days prior to the date of survey is considered to be the usual principal activity status of the person.The Usual Principal Activity status (UPS), written as Usual Status (PS), is determined using the majority time criterion and refers to the activity status on which h/she spent longer part of the year. Principal usual activity status is further used to classify him in/out the labour force. For instance, if an individual was ‘working’ and/or was ‘seeking or available for work’ for major part of the year preceding the date of survey then h/she is considered as being part of the ‘Labour Force’. For example if an individual reports as having worked and sought/available for work for seven months during the year or having sought or available for work for seven months then h/she is classified as being in the Labour Force.

The second step is to ascertain the Employed / Unemployed status of the individual, once again the majority time criterion is used to know whether he ‘worked’ (employed) or was ‘seeking/available for work’ (unemployed) for longer part of the total time he was in the labour force. For example if a person reports as having worked and sought/available for work for a total of seven months, and out of these seven months he was working only for two months and reported seeking/available for work for remaining five months, then h/she will be classified as ‘Unemployed’ on the usual principal status basis.

The final step is to calculate unemployment rate as the proportion of persons classified as unemployed on this basis expressed as a percentage of all those classified as being in the Labour Force.

Usual Principal Subsidiary Status (UPSS) or Usual Status (PS +SS)

UPSSis a more inclusive measure as compared to UPS. This approach seeks to identify ‘workers’ out of those who were classified as ‘unemployed’ or as ‘outside labour force’ on the basis the majority time criterion of the UPS approach. For example all individuals reported to have been employed and/or unemployed for a total of less than six months will be treated as outside the labour force based on UPS criteria. Similarly if someone is classified as being in the labour force and has worked only for a minor period of time, then he will be classified as ‘unemployed’ based on UPS approach. It’s quite likely that one who is outside the labour force by virtue of his spending longer time on ‘neither seeking/nor being available for work’ might have worked for a minor time period during the year long reference period. To capture such exclusions, the concept of ‘subsidiary status worker’ was devised and thus the approach of UPSS.

According to this approach all individuals who are either unemployed or outside the labour force, but have worked for a minor period of not less than 30 days during the reference year are classified as subsidiary status workers.

This gives us a different measure of Usual Status called the Usual Status (PS+SS) i.e. usual status of an individual determined on the basis of his usual principal status and usual subsidiary status taken together. Inclusion of subsidiary status workers increases the proportion of persons inside the labour force for usual status (PS+SS) as compared to usual status (PS) and also the unemployment rate is lower for the former as compared to latter.

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