To fulfill the requirement of employment and unemployment data which were required at very short intervals to monitor the progress made in the employment generating policies of the government was commenced from the first quarter of 1990 with a nationally representative sample of 10,000 housing units. However, the survey could not be conducted in Northern and Eastern Provinces after the first quarter of 1990. From year 2008 onward, the survey started covering parts of Eastern/Northern provinces and from 2013 onward, the survey covered whole country and conducted in all four quarters of every year. Currently, Labour Force Survey covers an annual sample of more than 25,000 housing units.
Socio Economic Survey conducted in 1969/70 was the first large scale sample survey conducted by DCS. This Survey has been evolved over time to be named as the Labour Force and Socio-Economic Survey in 1980/81 followed by 1985/86. From 1990/91, this became the Household Income and Expenditure Survey which collect information on income and expenditure, to measure the levels and changes in the living conditions of the people. Currently, with the latest being 2019 HIES surveys a sample of 25,000 housing units throughout the country during 12 consecutive monthly rounds to capture seasonal variations in income, expenditure and consumption patterns of households.
The main objective of this survey is to provide data on fertility, family planning, mortality, child nutrition and other selected indicators of health status which are useful for the formulation of health and nutrition related policies. This survey was initially conducted by DCS in 1987 followed by 1993, 2000, 2006/07 and 2016. The latest DHS in 2016 covered more than 27,000 housing units throughout the country. About 18,500 ever married women between 10-49 years of age living in these 27,000 housing units were interviewed at DHS2016.
This survey was started in 1979 and the coverage of it was manufacturing industries. After the Census of Industries in 1982, the coverage of it was extended including industries other than manufacturing and it has been continuing annually. The Objectives of this survey are to provide indicators on performance and structure of the industrial sector and update the list of industrial establishments already available.
Survey of Construction Industry was conducted in 1993 for the first time in Sri Lanka on the request of Institute for Construction Training and Development (ICTAD) to furnish data regarding input, output, employment etc. of the construction sector. The DCS continues to conduct the survey annually to fulfill the requirements of the data users of the construction industry in Sri Lanka.
Due to the fast growth of services sector in the country, data needs of planners, policy makers and researchers have increased significantly. The DCS conducted an Economic Census in 2013/14 for the first time to cover the trade and services sector. Based on the frame prepared at the economic census an annual survey of trade and services was conducted for the first time in 2016. Since then, this has been conducted annually to give important indicators on the nature, structure and the performance of the trade and other services activities undertaken by private sector establishments within the country. Recent Surveys covered some government sector establishments too for a few sectors such as transport.
The financial sector was not included in the annual survey of services sector due to the complexity of the service activity related data. Therefore, a survey was started in 2020 to collect data from the financial sector establishments. The objective of this survey is to give financial sector value addition to GDP and the employment in the sector.