Employment and unemployment (Labour force survey) (employ)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

Eurostat and National Quality Reports according to ESQRS (ESS Standard for Quality Reports Structure)
National quality reports

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: Eurostat user support


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

F3: Labour market

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 15/07/2021
2.2. Metadata last posted 15/07/2021
2.3. Metadata last update 15/07/2021

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The domain 'Employment and unemployment (Labour force survey)' is mainly but not only based on the results of the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS). Few indicators use other data sources like National Accounts employment or registered unemployment.

The structure of this domain is as follows:

  • 'LFS main indicators' consists of a selection of the most important monthly, quarterly and annual labour market indicators, most of them based on EU-LFS.
  • 'LFS series - detailed quarterly survey results' and 'LFS series - detailed annual survey results' is a more comprehensive selection of data from the EU-LFS.
  • 'LFS series - specific topics' report sub-national data (NUTS II and degree of urbanisation), data on households (both household demographics and labour market results by household type) as well as data on labour mobility and recent immigrants.
  • 'LFS series - ad-hoc modules' report results for EU-LFS ad-hoc modules since 2000.

More specific information for some of those domains can be found in the respective ESMS pages (please see links in section 'related metadata').

The EU-LFS is a quarterly household sample survey carried out in the Member States of the European Union, EFTA countries (except for Liechtenstein) and Candidate Countries (Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey). It is the main source of information about the situation and trends on the labour market in the European Union.

Since 1 January 2021, the EU-LFS is based on Regulation (EU) 2019/1700, also called the Integrated European Social Statistics Framework Regulation (IESS FR), and its Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2240.

According to the regulations in force since 1 January 2021, the EU-LFS is organised in 9 topics:

  • Technical items
  • Person and household characteristics;
  • Labour market participation;
  • Educational attainment and background;
  • Job tenure, work biography and previous work experience;
  • Working conditions including working hours and working time arrangements;
  • Participation in education and training;
  • Health: status and disability, access to, availability and use of health care and health determinants;
  • Income, consumption and elements of wealth, including debts.

 The survey's target population consists of all persons usually residing in private households in the territory of the reporting country.

Information is provided for:

  • every person of whatever age on the topics ‘technical items’ and ‘person and household characteristics’;
  • every person aged 15 to 74 on the ‘participation in education and training’ topic;
  • every person aged 15 to 89 for quarterly, annual and biennial variables on all other topics;
  • every person aged 15 to 74 for the eight-yearly variables of the detailed topics on ‘labour market situation of migrants and their immediate descendants’ and ‘accidents at work and other work-related health problems’;
  • every person aged 50 to 74 for the eight-yearly variables of the detailed topic on ‘pensions and labour market participation’;
  • every person aged 15 to 34 for the eight-yearly variables of the detailed topics on ‘young people on the labour market’ and ‘educational attainment — details, including education interrupted or abandoned’;
  • every person aged 18 to 74 for the eight-yearly variables of the detailed topic on ‘reconciliation of work and family life’;
  • every employed person aged 15 to 74 for the eight-yearly variables of the detailed topic on ‘work organisation and working time arrangements’.

In addition, since 1999, a set of variables is added each year to the core EU-LFS to provide users with statistics on a specific topic concerning the labour market. Until 2020, these annual sets of variables were called “ad hoc modules”.. From 2021 onwards, they are named either "regular modules", when the variables have a eight-yearly periodicity, or "modules on an ad hoc subject" for variables not included in the regular data sets.

Detailed information on the main features, legal basis, methodology, data dissemination and historical development of the EU-LFS is available on the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage.

3.2. Classification system

The EU-LFS results are produced in accordance with relevant international classification systems.

Main classifications used are NACE Rev. 1 (NACE Rev. 1.1 from 2005) and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008) for economic activity, ISCO 88 (COM) and ISCO 08 (from 2011) for occupation, ISCED 2011 for level of education (from 2014) and ISCED-F 2013 for field of education (from 2016), replacing the former ISCED 1997 codes.

For sub-national data, the EU-LFS uses the NUTS (Eurostat Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics) and the classification of degree of urbanisation.

Actual coding in the EU-LFS may deviate to some extent from those general standards; for more details on classifications (including the comparability between the revised classifications) and levels of aggregation, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Documentation.

3.3. Coverage - sector

As a general rule the EU-LFS covers all economic sectors.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The EU-LFS provides population estimates for the main labour market characteristics, such as employment, unemployment, people outside the labour force, hours of work, occupation, economic activity and other labour related variables, as well as important socio-demographic characteristics, such as sex, age, education, household characteristics and regions of residence.

The definitions of employment and unemployment, as well as other survey characteristics follow the definitions and recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The definitions are clearly stated in the Article 2 of the aforementioned Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/2240.

For more details on the methodology applicable from 2021 onwards, please consult: EU Labour Force Survey - new methodology from 2021 onwards - Statistics Explained (europa.eu). The methodology before 2021 can be found at: EU labour force survey - Methodology - Statistics Explained (europa.eu).

3.5. Statistical unit

Persons and households

3.6. Statistical population

The EU-LFS covers all persons usually residing in private households in the territory of the reporting country (Member States of the European Union, EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) and Candidate Countries (Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey). Persons living in collective or institutional households do not belong to the target population and are excluded from the EU-LFS.

In particular, persons performing compulsory military service (conscripts) are excluded from the private household population for the EU-LFS (see Article 3 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2181).

For more details on the methodology applicable from 2021 onwards, please consult: EU Labour Force Survey - new methodology from 2021 onwards - Statistics Explained (europa.eu). The methodology before 2021 can be found at: EU labour force survey - Methodology - Statistics Explained (europa.eu).

3.7. Reference area

European Union, Euro area, EU Member States, EFTA Countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), Candidate Countries (Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey), USA and Japan for some tables in the LFS Main Indicators.

Data up to the third quarter of 2020 are also available for the United Kingdom.

Data for Cyprus only refers to the areas of Cyprus controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Since 2014, data for France also includes the French overseas departments Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, La Réunion)  and Mayotte from 2021.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data for all EU Member States and the United Kingdom are mostly available from 1999 or 2000 onwards. Data relating to the former EU-15 are available from 1995 onwards. Data relating to the former EU-12 are available from 1987 onwards (LFS main indicators for unemployment are available since 1983 for some countries). Results for EFTA countries date back to 1995 and for Candidate Countries to 2002. Household data with tabulation by household composition, number of children, age of the youngest child and household working status are available from 2005.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

Most results measure number of persons (thousands). Some indicators are reported as rates (employment, unemployment rates). Some variables are reported in other units (ages in years, working time in hours, etc.).

5. Reference Period Top

The EU-LFS is designed as a continuous quarterly survey with interviews spread uniformly over all weeks of a quarter. The reference week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. By convention, the first week of the year is the week including the first Thursday, and the 1st reference quarter consists of 13 consecutive weeks starting from that week. Specific rules are foreseen in case of a quarter with 14 weeks. A similar Thursday rule is applied to months in order to derive the reference month. All reference weeks (13 in general) are basically assigned to define the reference quarter according to this rule as well.  

Annual data encompass the four reference quarters in the year.

Before early 2000s the EU-LFS was conducted annually in spring, rather than quarterly. Spring was considered a period representative of the labour situation in the whole year. The changeover from an annual survey to a continuous, quarterly survey took place between 1998 and 2004, depending on the Member State. For more information on the transition to a quarterly continuous survey, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Development and history.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The EU-LFS is based on European legislation since 1973. Its implementation is governed by legislative acts of the Council and Parliament, as well as of the Commission. The principal legal act is the Regulation (EU) 2019/1700, also called the Integrated European Social Statistics Framework Regulation (IESS FR), and its Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2240, which came into force on 1 January 2021.

These are main regulations with provisions on definitions, design, survey characteristics and data transmission and dissemination. For more details on the regulations, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Main features and legal basis.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

EU-LFS microdata as received by Eurostat from the National Statistical Institutes do not contain any administrative information such as names or addresses that would allow direct identification. Access to this microdata is nevertheless strictly controlled and limited to specified Eurostat staff.

After data treatment, records are aggregated for further use. Each dataset is complemented by the transmission of metadata, in particular confidentiality/reliability limits. These limits establish estimated sizes of population groups below which figures have to be suppressed or published with warning.. Aggregated data published in the online database follow these confidentiality/reliability rules, and data are blanked or flagged according to the confidentiality/reliability limits.

Researchers may access to anonymised LFS microdata available at Eurostat for scientific purposes only, also referred to as scientific use files. The available datasets are disseminated free of charge.), To avoid disclosure of confidential data, these data are "anonymised", on the basis of a list of anonymisation criteria agreed with the National Statistical Institutes. For more details, please refer to access to microdata.

For more information on publications guidelines, thresholds and microdata availability for researchers, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Data and publications.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

EU-LFS quarterly and annual main indicators data are disseminated according to a release calendar. Annual results are released few days after those related to the fourth quarter.

A different, separate release calendar exists for monthly unemployment data.

Data in 'EU-LFS series – detailed quarterly/annual survey results' are updated once a week, as new and revised country data become available and are validated.

8.2. Release calendar access

The release dates of monthly unemployment data are disseminated on Eurostat's website.

For other data in 'LFS main indicators', the precise release date is disseminated in the EU-LFS dedicated section found in the Eurostat's website.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the EU legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see section 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

The frequencies of the data are monthly (only for unemployment), quarterly, annual. The frequency of the dissemination is reported in section 8.1.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line only for unemployment (monthly).

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

For more details, Please consult the dedicated page on Eurostat website or EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - data and publication.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

See https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/lfs/data/database

Eurostat also produces tailor-made tables not available online at the request of users (please refer to http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/help/support).

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

EU-LFS anonymised microdata are available for research purposes. Please refer to access to microdata.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For a detailed description of methods and concepts used from 2021 onwards, please consult: EU Labour Force Survey - new methodology from 2021 onwards - Statistics Explained (europa.eu).

The methodology before 2021 can be found at: EU labour force survey - methodology - Statistics Explained (europa.eu)

Publications on the methodology of the survey are also available at: Quality reports and methodological publications.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Please consult Quality reports and methodological publications.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The concern for the quality of the EU-LFS is expressed in Regulations and reflected in harmonised definitions and discussed in working groups (such as the Labour Markey Statistics Working Group and its predecessor the Employment Statistics Working Group), workshops and seminars within the European Statistical System (ESS).

Annual quality reports were introduced in 2002. In addition, quarterly accuracy reports and quality reports for the modules were introduced in 2004.

The last milestone in the improvement of the EU-LFS quality is the adoption of the Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/2240 specifying the technical items of the data set, establishing the technical formats for transmission of information and specifying the detailed arrangements and content of the quality reports on the organisation of a sample survey in the labour force domain in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2180 on the detailed arrangements and content for the quality reports.

Eurostat and the Member States are continuously working to improve the quality of the survey on a voluntary basis beyond legal obligations. In 2009, a Task Force on the Quality of the EU-LFS reviewed the quality of the survey along the dimensions of the Eurostat's quality framework. It issued recommendations that have paved the way for future improvement regarding the relevance of the ILO concept of employment and unemployment, sampling design and sampling errors, weighting schemes, non-response, interviewers and fieldwork organization, survey modes, information for users, quality assessment and, more in general, quality assurance, coherence, cross-country comparability and change management. Most of these recommendations were translated in the latest regulations in force from 2021 onwards. Also, at the initiative of Member States, a programme of annual EU-LFS methodological workshops has been launched in 2005.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

EU-LFS statistics have overall high quality. National LFS are considered as reliable sources applying high standards with regard to the methodology. However, the EU-LFS, like any survey, is based upon a sample of the population. The results are therefore subject to the usual types of errors associated with random sampling. Based on the sample size and design in the various Member States, Eurostat implements basic guidelines intended to avoid publication of figures that are unreliable and to give warning for low reliability.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

EU-LFS results are used by DG Employment and a number of other Directorates-General of the Commission mainly for measurement and monitoring of policy agenda purposes. The European Central Bank (ECB) uses short term EU-LFS statistics related to Euro area. Key users include NSI's, international organizations, news agencies and researchers which use various aspects of EU-LFS data for international or intra EU comparisons. Finally, EU-LFS data are used by Eurostat for compiling detailed regional indicators, for estimates on current education and educational attainment, higher education and research, and for accurate estimates of labour input of National Accounts.

Several indicators stemming from the EU-LFS are used for monitoring and measurement of core policy objectives of the EU, for example in the context the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure. For more information and a complete list of indicators, please consult EU policy indicators.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Eurostat does not carry out regular satisfaction surveys targeted only at users of labour market statistics but a general Eurostat User Satisfaction Survey is carried out every year to collect feedback on the quality of its statistics. The survey is usually addressed to the registered Eurostat users who are mainly students, academic, private users, business government and international organizations. 

Based on users needs, the list of EU-LFS variables have been reviewed and topics have been added in the context of the new regulations in force since 1 January 2021. Additional variables namely concern the health status and disability, the migratory context, the participation in education and training activities in the last 12 months. The collection of some topics have also been further improved in terms of comparability across countries, such as the working hours and the income from work, to answer users requests.

12.3. Completeness

Please consult Quality reports and methodological publications.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy of the EU-LFS is considered as high.

The EU-LFS is a sample survey with a relatively large sample size. The achieved quarterly sample in all participating countries concerns about 1.7 million individuals (EU: 1.4 million), corresponding to around 0.3% of the total population.

All countries apply a probability sampling. The chosen method varies across countries but most of them use multi-staged stratified random sample design, especially those that do not have central population registers available.

As the EU-LFS data are based on a population sample and are mostly collected by interview, they are subject to the usual types of errors associated with sampling techniques and interviewing. Sampling and non-sampling errors, are calculated for each country and documented in the Quality Report of the European Union Labour Force Survey. Subject to Eurostat's quality screening, figures on employment fulfil the Eurostat requirements concerning reliability.

13.2. Sampling error

The participating countries provide Eurostat with an estimate of the relative standard error of three main indicators on which the survey precision requirements are based (see Annex II of the Regulation (EU) 2019/1700):

  • employment ratio to population aged 15-74;
  • unemployment ratio to population aged 15-74 (both national and at NUTS 2 level);
  • youth unemployment rate 15-24.

These relative standard errors can also be expressed as confidence limits, i.e. the range of values that 95% of times would capture the true value in the population. The estimates and confidence limits are calculated for each country and documented in the Quality Report of the European Union Labour Force Survey.

13.3. Non-sampling error

a) Coverage errors

Non-existent or inhabited houses or population no longer living in the country are main causes of over-coverage, especially for the countries who use the Census list. Under-coverage problems are caused by the time lag in registering new residents or newly constructed dwellings. Fieldwork problems during the survey are also found on multiple households which are recorded as one household in the framing list or the opposite.

b) Measurement errors

Measurement errors are complicated to asses. For the EU-LFS, the level of proxy interviews can be used as an indicator for at least part of the measurement error, namely part of the influence of the respondent. Proxy interviews are interviews where a person (the proxy) answers questions on behalf of someone else.

c) Processing errors

Between data collection and the beginning of statistical analysis for the production of statistics, data must undergo a certain processing: coding, data entry, data editing, imputation, etc. Due to the lack of detailed information, Eurostat cannot provide estimates about the degree of processing errors in the EU-LFS data.

d) Non-response errors

Most countries calculate non-response on the basis of the household unit, except Denmark, Estonia, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, which compute non-response at the level of individuals.For more details please consult Quality reports and methodological publications

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 establishes the timeliness of data transmissions from the national statistical institutes in ten weeks after the end of the reference period, and it determines the release of data to users.

14.2. Punctuality

In 2019, EU-LFS data were transmitted to Eurostat within an average of 65 days (since the end of the reference period) and published on Eurostat's website within an average of 77 days.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability of the EU-LFS across countries is considered as high and is achieved through various regulations ensuring harmonisation of concepts, definitions and methodologies.

Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 and its Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2240 further enhance the comparability between countries, with namely the input harmonisation of employment and unemployment.

A high level of comparability across the EU-LFS  participating countries is namely ensured by:

(a)    the use of the same definitions for all countries;

(b)    the transmission to Eurostat of the same list of variables with the same coding;

(c)    the same flow for the questions determining the labour status (in line with the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation);

(d)    the provision by Eurostat of model questions to be applied as closely as possible by countries in their national questionnaire;

(e)    the use of common classifications (e.g. NACE for economic activity);

(f)     the central processing of data done by Eurostat.

For more information on the EU-LFS definitions and methodology applicable from 2021 onwards, please consult: EU Labour Force Survey - new methodology from 2021 onwards - Statistics Explained (europa.eu). The methodology before 2021 can be found at: EU labour force survey - methodology - Statistics Explained (europa.eu).

For more information on the classifications used, please see: EU labour force survey - documentation - Statistics Explained (europa.eu).

For more information about comparability across countries, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Data and publications. For a detailed description of the national LFS please consult: The European Union Labour Force Survey: main characteristics of the national surveys

As most of the variables are defined in accordance with recommendations of the International Labour Organisation and other international organisations, the main statistics from the EU-LFS are directly comparable to those of other industrialised countries, especially those of the other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Therefore, geographical comparability of the EU-LFS has historically been very high and has further improved with the implementation of the new regulations in force since 1 January 2021. However, some countries are still in the process of implementing the regulations or have other national quality concerns that may impact geographical comparability:

  • Spain: After the outbreak of the COVID crisis, Spain was including in employment persons on lay-off paid by a governmental scheme and not directly from the employer. Due to the COVID crisis, Spain continues to apply this rule of job attachment for people in temporary lay-off even after 1 January 2021.
  • France: Also, due to the COVID crisis, France continues from 1 January 2021 onwards to test the job attachment of employed people on temporary lay-off as implemented until end 2020.
  • The Netherlands: The new regulations are gradually implemented over the year 2021 in all waves (one additional wave in each quarter). In addition, data is still collected using a rolling reference week instead of a fixed reference week, i.e. interviewed persons are asked about the situation of the week before the interview rather than a pre-selected week (irrespective of the interview time). Delays in interviews (due to re-attempts, drawing from a reserve sample list, etc.) can consequently have in this country a knock-on effect on the distribution of the reference weeks, leading to differences between the theoretical and actual final distribution of the sample over the weeks of the quarter.
  • Germany: Due to technical issues with the introduction of the new German system of integrated household surveys, including the LFS, the figures for Germany in 2020 are not direct estimates from LFS micro-data, but based on a larger sample including additional data from other integrated household surveys. Moreover, for the first and second quarters of 2021, data of one federal region, Bremen, is not included in the estimates, but national estimates are reweighted to be in line with population margins.

Additional information by country can be found in the following national publications:





See the annex below: LFS_Results_Q1_2021 - Bulgaria


News release: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/ari/employment-and-unemployment-as-measured-by-the-lfs-1-quarter-of-2021

Quarterly publication: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/employment-and-unemployment-as-measured-by-the-labour-force-survey-quarterly-data-1-quarter-of-2021


Press release: https://www.dst.dk/da/Statistik/nyt/NytHtml?cid=31839

Statistical documentation: https://www.dst.dk/en/Statistik/dokumentation/documentationofstatistics/labour-force-survey


Press release: https://www.stat.ee/en/node/183329

Methodology: https://www.stat.ee/en/changes-methodology-estonian-labour-force-survey


Implications of IESS: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/in/lfs/implicationsoftheimplementationoftheintegrationofeuropeansocialstatisticsiessframeworkregulationonlabourmarketstatisticsinirelandin2021/

Technical note: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-lfs/labourforcesurveyquarter12021/technicalnote/


Press release: https://www.statistics.gr/en/statistics/-/publication/SJO01/-






Results: https://www.insee.fr/en/statistiques/5403501

Methodology: https://www.insee.fr/en/statistiques/5412790 (in English) and https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/5402123 (in French)

Additional information : https://www.insee.fr/fr/metadonnees/source/operation/s2022/documentation-methodologique (in French) and https://www.insee.fr/fr/information/5398681?sommaire=5398695 (in French)


Press release: https://www.dzs.hr/Hrv_Eng/publication/2021/09-02-06_01_2021.htm


Press release: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.istat.it/en/archivio/258522__;!!DOxrgLBm!SrBTauwDEmHjljVXvzSegaijYyTmJfWvJWoSg1Voc6_5Jp7LWsPUQG2OlClQ0CcVK2_5Dx7JnY4$

Methodology: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.istat.it/en/archivio/255311__;!!DOxrgLBm!SrBTauwDEmHjljVXvzSegaijYyTmJfWvJWoSg1Voc6_5Jp7LWsPUQG2OlClQ0CcVK2_5Fp7-z2Y$


Press release: https://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/cystat/statistics.nsf/all/E850BC957EC4B9D8C22587370031CDC5/$file/Labour_Force_Survey-Q221-EN-260821.pdf?OpenElement

Key Figures: https://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/cystat/statistics.nsf/labour_31main_en/labour_31main_en?OpenForm&sub=1&sel=2


Press release: https://stat.gov.lv/en/statistics-themes/labour-market/employment/press-releases/6771-employment-1st-quarter-2021


Press release: https://osp.stat.gov.lt/informaciniai-pranesimai?articleId=8701930

Methodology (in Lithuanian): https://osp.stat.gov.lt/documents/10180/130368/Gyventoj%C5%B3_uzimtumo_statistinio_tyrimo_metodika_2013.pdf







See the annex below: LFS 2021 Methodological note - Netherlands


Press release: https://www.statistik.at/web_en/press/126290.html


News release: https://stat.gov.pl/en/topics/labour-market/working-unemployed-economically-inactive-by-lfs/information-regarding-the-labour-market-in-the-first-quarter-of-2021-preliminary-data,8,39.html


Press release: https://www.ine.pt/xportal/xmain?xpid=INE&xpgid=ine_destaques&DESTAQUESdest_boui=472930993&DESTAQUESmodo=2

(in english): https://www.ine.pt/xportal/xmain?xpid=INE&xpgid=ine_destaques&DESTAQUESdest_boui=472930993&DESTAQUESmodo=2&xlang=en


Press release: https://insse.ro/cms/en/content/employment-and-unemployment-29


Press release: https://www.stat.si/StatWeb/en/News/Index/9594

Methodology: https://www.stat.si/StatWeb/File/DocSysFile/8357/07-008-ME.pdf


News release: https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/2021/03/tyti_2021_03_2021-05-04_tie_001_en.html

Methodology: https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/2021/03/tyti_2021_03_2021-05-04_laa_001_en.html


(in Finnish) https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/ajk/tyovoimatutkimuksen-uudistus.html


Press release: https://scb.se/en/finding-statistics/statistics-by-subject-area/labour-market/labour-force-surveys/labour-force-surveys-lfs/pong/statistical-news/labour-force-surveys-lfs-1st-quarter-2021-corrected-2021-06-22/


News release:  https://hagstofa.is/utgafur/frettasafn/vinnumarkadur/vinnumarkadurinn-i-desember-2020/


See the annex below: LFS-Norway-Release


LFS_Main_Results_Q1_2021 - Bulgaria
LFS 2021 Methodological note - Netherlands
15.2. Comparability - over time

Since 1983, improved comparability between results of successive surveys has been achieved, mainly due to the greater stability of content and the higher frequency of surveys. However, the following factors may somewhat detract from perfect comparability:

(a) the population figures used for the population adjustment are revised at intervals on the basis of new population censuses (however, it is common practice to disseminate basic recalculated series);

(b) the reference period may not remain the same for a given country due to the transition to a quarterly continuous survey;

(c) in order to improve the quality of results, some countries may change the content or order of their questionnaire;

(d) countries may modify their survey designs and/or methodology;

(e) the manner in which certain questions are answered may be influenced by the political, economical or social circumstances at the time of interview.

From 2021 onwards, Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 provides the new framework for the EU-LFS. Its Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2240 for the labour market domain updates some crucial definitions, including the Eurostat operational definitions of the three ILO labour statuses (employed, unemployed and outside the labour force). The changes in the operational definition and derivation of the labour status can cause breaks in the time series of the quarterly and annual LFS indicators. In order to provide stakeholders with the most relevant labour market policy indicators, Member States and Eurostat are producing break-corrected series to ensure data comparability over time. These series will be gradually available on the Eurostat website.

For more details on the comparability over time (break in series), please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Data and Publication >>> Comparability over time

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

a) Coherence with population statistics

Population statistics and EU-LFS demographic statistics are not fully comparable, some conceptual differences must be considered:

  • EU-LFS statistics usually cover the population in private households, while population statistics cover the whole population, including those living in collective households (e.g. conscripts).
  • Sometimes the rules for defining the usual resident population differ in the EU-LFS from the rule in population statistics.
  • Population statistics usually refer to particular dates, e.g. 1st January or mid-year for population level and characteristics. The EU-LFS statistics generally refer to the average quarterly or annual situation.

b) Coherence with employment estimates in National Accounts

LFS and National Accounts are the two main sources of employment data. These sources are not independent; indeed LFS is frequently an input to National Accounts employment estimates. Although the ILO concepts reflect the National Accounts concepts, both have their own aims and measurement approaches, which may lead to different results. In addition, other statistics based on business surveys also provide estimates of employment which may differ.

The EU-LFS is a sample survey of individuals and households.  By contrast, National Accounts is a conceptual framework (specified in the European System of Accounts - ESA2010) comprising definitions, classifications, variables and presentational arrangements. National Accounts are compiled by comparing and combining all the relevant data sources available in the country. This is a key feature of National Accounts: it allows taking the best from each source, increasing coherence and obtaining more comprehensive results. For the variable employment, this means more robust estimates and improved consistency with other key National Accounts variables, such as salaries and output. The National Accounts integration is however done at macro level, meaning that the results are produced for the whole economy plus a few standard industry breakdowns. Certain breakdowns, such as sex and age, which are available for the LFS are not available from National Accounts. The macro-level adjustments and the absence of certain breakdowns do not make it possible to cross National Accounts employment with other variables in the way LFS allows.

The integration of data sources into the National Accounts is done differently in each country. In general, the LFS is the most important single source used for National Accounts employment. Other sources are business surveys, employment registers, social security registers, population census, etc. Some countries use LFS as the only source for National Accounts employment, many others complement the LFS with other sources and a few countries do not use LFS. Whenever LFS is used in National Accounts, some scope alignments are needed prior to any integration. Those scope alignments plus the integration of LFS with other sources (in countries where done) leads National Accounts employment to be different from LFS.

All in all, National Accounts is judged more suitable to measure employment levels, employment growth and industry breakdowns. LFS is more adequate to measure participation in the labour market (i.e. employment rates, unemployment rates, flows between employment and unemployment, etc.), demographic or social breakdowns (e.g. by age, sex or educational attainment level) and it is more suitable for socio-demographic studies.

Furthermore, key concepts used in National Accounts, such as domestic employment, have no correspondence in the EU-LFS, which uses instead number of persons employed based on residency within the national border (national employment). There are also differences in coverage, the EU-LFS employment covers the age groups 15 and older in private households only, while the National Accounts employment cover all persons regardless of age or residence. In addition, the EU-LFS does not consider conscripts and unpaid trainees as employed whereas these are explicitly or implicitly accounted for in the National Accounts. The reference period for the measurement could also contribute to some differences. The EU-LFS represent one average week in the year with all the weeks of the year measured. When data are derived from administrative sources or establishment surveys the reference period is usually different, the month, the whole year or a single day within the year or month.

When comparing EU-LFS data and National Account statistics, users are also interested in whether or not the two approaches show the same trend, i.e. change from one period to another. A comparison between EU-LFS and National Accounts data on employment growth shows that both sources are broadly comparable with relation to the direction of the employment growth. The reasons for the disparities, either in levels or in the direction of the employment growth are not fully known. Some indicative reasons can, however, be mentioned: 

  • National Accounts may use sources different from LFS (or LFS combined with other sources) to estimate employment.
  • National Accounts may introduce adjustments to reach consistency between the employment reported by its sources and other related variables, like salaries or production.
  • The National Accounts approach, by comparing and combining different sources, is also more prone than LFS to identify underreporting or systematic biases.
  • LFS estimates are subject to sampling error, both with regard to levels and changes between periods. Thus, when there are relatively small changes between periods, these could easily be shown numerically differently in the different estimates, just because the changes are within the margin of error.

c) Coherence with employment estimates stemming from business surveys

Business statistics, whether Structural Business Statistics (SBS) or Short-term Business Statistics (STS), are focused on production-related variables like output, turnover or value added, but they also produce some estimates of employment. These estimates may be and frequently are different from EU-LFS results. The main reasons for the differences are:

  • Different scope: business surveys gather information on production units operating in the territory whereas LFS gathers information on people living in the country. Cross-border workers or seasonal workers are correspondingly recorded in different countries.
  • Different coverage: the LFS usually does not collect information for people living in collective households (Business Statistics do not exclude the information). The LFS covers all economic activities and all firm sizes, whereas Business Statistics typically do not gather information on agriculture, government or some service activities. In addition, business registers used to compile Business Statistics may not include small enterprises below a certain threshold or may leave out employment not included in the payroll or in the accounting books such as family workers.
  • Different units: business surveys estimate the number of jobs whereas LFS counts jobholders. Business surveys rarely have access to jobholders’ features like age, sex, etc. for which LFS is the only source.
  • Different classification approach: The economic activity in the LFS should be coded as the activity of the local unit where workers actually work while business surveys refer to the industry of the employer. This applies, for example, to persons with a contract with a temporary employment agency.

LFS is more adequate to measure the total employment levels. However, the identification of economic activity (industry) is generally more accurate from business surveys than from household surveys, because the information is directly obtained from the production units while in LFS information is reported by the respondents that could not be fully aware about the economic activity of the local unit where they carry out their job. As comparisons between business surveys and LFS can only be done at industry level (because some activities are out of business surveys scope, as explained above), weaknesses in both sides undermine comparisons.

15.4. Coherence - internal

EU-LFS estimates for a given reference period have full internal coherence, as they are all based on the same corpus of microdata and they are calculated using the same estimation methods. Arithmetic and accounting identities in the production of EU-LFS datasets are observed.

There is also the issue of coherence between annual and quarterly estimates. Coherence is ensured whenever annual estimates are produced as average of quarterly results. Since 2006, it is possible to collect data for EU-LFS annual variables from a sub-sample spread over the full year. In that case, small discrepancies between annual estimates and averaged quarterly estimates may exist. For this reason, consistency of totals for the ILO labour status by sex and broad age groups is required by regulation.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not available

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

EU-LFS results are usually considered final with first dissemination. However, occasional revisions can occur if irregularities are discovered during in depth analysis or use or in case of change or improvements in the methodology. There are few exceptions to this: if new population estimates for past periods become available after a new census round, or in the context of back data revisions of regional coding. In such cases EU-LFS results are revised whenever revised quarterly or yearly LFS data become available, and main users informed accordingly.

17.2. Data revision - practice

For information on EU-LFS data revisions, please consult: EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Data and publication

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The EU-LFS is a random sample survey of persons in private households. The sampling units are dwellings, households or individuals depending on the sampling frame. Different schemes are used to sample the units, ranging from the simple random sampling method to complex stratified multi-stage sampling methods of clusters. Most countries use a variant of the two-stage stratified random sampling of household units.

Participation in the survey is compulsory in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Norway and Turkey. Part of the data can be supplied by equivalent information from alternative sources, including administrative registers, provided the data obtained are of equivalent quality.

On average, the achieved quarterly sample in 2019 in all participating countries was 1.684 million individuals of which 1.283 million were in the age group 15–74 years. The achieved sample in the EU-LFS is thus approximately 0.28% of the total population.,

For more information please consult the corresponding EU-LFS quality report.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Since the early 2000's, the survey has quarterly periodicity, previously it was an annual survey run in spring. Since the survey became quarterly, it includes both quarterly variables and annual variables (i.e. collected only once a year).

18.3. Data collection

The EU-LFS data collection is carried out through mainly four modes: personal visits, telephone interviews, web interviews and self-administered questionnaires. About half of the participating countries conduct the first interview always or mainly via CAPI while in subsequent waves the interviews are performed by CATI, if a telephone contact is available.

For more information please consult the corresponding LFS quality report.

18.4. Data validation

Prior to the dissemination of transmitted national data, Eurostat checks the data quality and consistency. Eurostat calculates aggregated EU-LFS results which are then validated by the Member States. Afterwards they are published.

18.5. Data compilation

EU and Euro area aggregates are calculated aggregating estimated population totals from Member States. For the data expressed in absolute values for each quarter (i.e. number of persons/households) no further Eurostat weighting is used. Rates/ratios are subsequently calculated from the data expressed in absolute values (i.e. number of persons/households). 
Monthly unemployment rates are calculated with different methods. Some indicators like 'duration of working life' or 'population in jobless households' have specific estimation methods too, documented in the respective ESMS pages.

18.6. Adjustment

Adjustments of data under the domain 'Employment and unemployment (Labour Force Survey)' depend on the sub-domain:

  • Data under 'LFS main indicators' may be interpolated and breaks in series corrected to ensure correct behaviour of time series. Some integration with other data sources (National Accounts employment) is also done to ensure coherence. Details are given in the ESMS page for main indicators.
  • Data under 'LFS series - detailed quarterly survey results',  'LFS series - detailed annual survey results', 'LFS series - specific topics' and 'LFS - ad-hoc modules' are not adjusted.

Annual results of quarterly variables are produced as simple averages of the quarterly results. Instead annual results of annual variables are derived directly.

19. Comment Top


Related metadata Top
lfsa_esms - LFS series - detailed annual survey results
lfsi_esms - LFS main indicators
lfso_esms - LFS ad-hoc modules
lfsq_esms - LFS series - detailed quarterly survey results (from 1998 onwards)

Annexes Top
EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage (additional metadata information)