LFS ad-hoc modules (lfso)

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)

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 Unit F3 - Labour market
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 19/06/2014
2.2. Metadata last posted 19/06/2014
2.3. Metadata last update 19/06/2014

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) provides population estimates for the main labour market characteristics, such as employment, unemployment, inactivity, hours of work, occupation, economic activity and much else, as well as important socio-demographic characteristics, such as sex, age, education, households and regions of residence. Since 1999 an inherent part of the European Union labour force survey (LFS) are the so called 'ad-hoc modules' (AHM). Council Regulation No 577/98 specifies that a further set of variables (the AHM) may be added to supplement the information obtained from the core questionnaire of the LFS. The topic covered by the ad hoc module change every year, although some of them have been repeated.

3.2. Classification system

The EU-LFS results are produced in accordance with the relevant international classification systems. The 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 and ISCED 1997 and ISCED 2014 (from 2014) for the level and field of education. 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), levels of aggregation and transition rules, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Methodology >> classification.

3.3. Coverage - sector

As a general rule the LFS ad hoc modules cover all economic sectors.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Detailed information on the relevant methodology for the ad-hoc module (including the Commission regulation and explanatory notes) as well as to national documentation (national questionnaires and interviewers instructions) can be found on EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical units consist of the individuals living in private households, and, for some modules and countries, also the household.

3.6. Statistical population

The statistical population depends on the module. Please refer to the ESMS page of the corresponding ad hoc module or to EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

3.7. Reference area

The reference area depends on the module. Please refer to the ESMS page of the corresponding ad hoc module or to EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The ad hoc modules are run for a specific year. The topic of the module can be repeated with a non-fixed periodicity and with some changes (in the list of variables included, the target population, the definitions, ...).

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Number of persons, generally expressed in thousands. When indicated, averages, rates or percentages. Some variables are reported in other units (ages in years, working time in hours, etc.).

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period are not identical with the one for the quarterly LFS data. It exists differences between countries and modules. For more detailed information, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

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

General framework: Council Regulation (EC) Nº 577/98 of 9 March 1998 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey (OJ Nº L77/3). Additionally, each module is detailed in its own legal act. For reference to the corresponding LFS regulations, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

No international agreements for data sharing.

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 does 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 all further use.

For more information on publications guidelines and thresholds, please consult: EU-LFS - Data and publications.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

LFS data for ad-hoc modules are released after the end of the reference period once data processing and validation is terminated. This is not scheduled in a release calendar.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 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

Yearly. Topics of the LFS ad hoc modules change from year to year. Some topics are repeated on a no predefined basis.  

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

Not applicable.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

A final evaluation report of each module summarises the main findings. For more details, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or address to ESTAT-LFS-USER-SUPPORT@ec.europa.eu

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

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

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Eurostat database - Population and social conditions- Labour market- Employment and unemployment (Labour Force Survey).

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For a detailed description of methods and concepts used, as well as for other documents related to the EU-LFS, please consult the  EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage.

The EU-LFS disseminates also publications on the methodology of the survey. For more information please consult: Quality reports and methodological publications.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

See "Publications" section (10.2) above.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The concern for the quality of labour statistics in general and of the Labour Force Survey in particular has been expressed in Regulations, 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.

Concerning the Labour Force Survey, major milestones in the improvement of its quality have been the adoption of Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a continuous, quarterly sample survey in the Community; the adoption of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1897/2000 concerning the operational definition of unemployment and the 12 principles for formulating questions on labour status; the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1991/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council making the continuous survey mandatory from 2003 onwards (except Italy from 2004 and Germany from 2005) and the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 2257/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council extending the survey characteristics and introducing the distinction between structural and quarterly variables.

Eurostat and the Member States have continuously worked also on a voluntary basis to improve the quality of the Labour Force Survey. Annual quality reports were introduced in 2002 and quarterly accuracy reports were introduced in 2004. Standards and rules for preparing ad hoc modules were adopted in 2004. At the initiative of Member States, a programme of annual LFS workshops was started in 2005.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

The overall quality of LFS statistics is considered as high. LFS surveys are considered as reliable sources applying high standards with regard to the methodology. However, the LFS, like all surveys, 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 or to give warning of the unreliability of the figures.

A Task Force composed of several national experts, policy representatives and Eurostat analyses the outcome of each module. The results are published in an evaluation report.

For a detailed description of the methods and concepts used, as well as for other documents related to the EU LFS ad hoc modules, please consult EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

A multiannual ad hoc module programme is agreed between Eurostat, the National Statistical Institutes and the main policy users (basically Commission services)

EU-LFS results are used mainly by DG Employment and a number of other Directorates of the Commission for measurement and monitoring of policy agendas purposes. Key users include National Statistical Institutes, international organisations, news agencies and researchers which use various aspects of EU-LFS data for international or intra EU comparisons. Finally, LFS data are used by Eurostat for compiling detailed regional indicators , for estimates on current education and education levels, higher education and research, and for accurate estimates of labour input of national accounts.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Eurostat does not carry out any satisfaction survey targeted at users of labour markets statistics. The relevance of the LFS statistics for the users can thus only be assessed by indirect means. These requests are subject to scrutiny by the national experts and representatives of the NSIs. For major topics of interest, the instrument of ad hoc modules has proven to be useful and flexible. For users other than the Commission, anecdotal evidence for relevance can be found in positive feedbacks from individual users, or even in the absence of complaint. The main institutional users, however, are known to the unit for Labour Market Statistics. Many of them are frequently consulted on various aspects of development and dissemination of labour force statistics.

12.3. Completeness

Even if otherwise adhering to the EU-regulations on the EU-LFS, countries do not always provide data for all the variables. This can be for various reasons, such as assessment that the variable in question is irrelevant to the labour market situation in the country or (temporary) inability to implement the variable in the national questionnaire. Some NSIs implement the full set of questions only in the spring or to a certain survey wave.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is considered high. The LFS covers persons aged 15 years and over, living in private households to ensure a comparable coverage for all countries. The sampling designs in the LFS differ across countries (sampling rates vary between 0.2% and 3.6%). Most of the National Statistical Institutes employ multi-staged stratified random sample design, especially those that do not have central population registers available.

As the results are based on a sample of population they are subject to the usual types of errors associated with sampling techniques and interviews. For each module, the relevant information about accuracy can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

13.2. Sampling error

For each module, the relevant information about sampling errors can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

13.3. Non-sampling error

For each module, the relevant information about non-sampling errors can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Ad hoc module data shall be delivered to Eurostat before 31 March of the year following the reference year. The release of EU-LFS ad hod modules data is not bound by an advance calendar of publication.

For each module, the relevant information about timeliness can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

14.2. Punctuality

For each module, the relevant information about punctuality can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability across countries is considered as high. It is assured in the European LFS through various regulations ensuring harmonisation of concepts, definitions and methodologies for all EU Members States, EFTA and candidate countries. However, perfect comparability among countries is difficult to achieve, even were it to be by means of a single direct survey, i.e. a survey carried out at the same time, using the same questionnaire and a single method of recording.

For each module, the relevant information about comparability can be found in the corresponding evaluation report.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Not applicable.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Not applicable.

15.4. Coherence - internal

Published estimates stemming from the LFS are considered fully internally coherent, since arithmetic and accounting identities in the production of LFS datasets are observed.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Not applicable.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

LFS revisions are not expected, unless major errors are identified in the data delivered or in their processing. However, exceptional revisions may happen e.g. after new estimates of population from a population census.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Not applicable.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The source of the data is the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS). The EU LFS is a rotating random sample survey of persons in private households. It is organised in thirteen modules, covering their demographic background, labour status, employment characteristics of the main job, hours worked, employment characteristics of the second job, time-related underemployment, search for employment, education and training, previous work experience of persons not in employment, situation one year before the survey, main labour status, income, and technical items relating to the interview. The additional so-called ad-hoc module can be added to address specific subjects that change from year to year. For details see Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community (OJ No L 77/3).

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Data collection is mainly quaterly or annual. For more details, please consuilt EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc modules.

18.3. Data collection

The data is acquired by interviewing the sampled individuals directly. For the sample design and rotation patterns applied in each country, please consult the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage.

18.4. Data validation

Prior to the dissemination of national data, LFS results are validated by the Member States and checked for plausibility by Eurostat.

18.5. Data compilation

Aggregate figures are calculated by adding up all the national data series. Rates/Ratios are subsequently calculated from the data expressed in absolute values (i.e. number of persons).

18.6. Adjustment

No adjustments done.

19. Comment Top

The ad-hoc module data for 1999 are available under other domain on Eurostat's website, at the following locations:

- 1999 - Accidents at work and occupational diseases: Database / Population and social conditions / Health / Health and safety at work / Work related health problems and accidental injuries (LFS 1999)

Related metadata Top
employ_esms - Employment and unemployment (Labour force survey)

Annexes Top
EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) - Ad-hoc module (additional metadata information)