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Labour Force Survey

The purpose of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is giving a description of the labour market status of the population. The LFS gives insight into how many people are employed, unemployed or outside the labour force (economically inactive). The LFS also manages to measure information like how many people are working part time; how many hours men in their 30s or 40s usually work; or how many elderly people outside the labour market would like to have a job. The LFS has been conducted yearly since 1984, and from 1994 the survey has been conducted continuously throughout the year.

Statistical presentation

The Labour Force Survey is based on a sample and describes the labour market status of the population aged 15-74. The population is classified into employed, unemployed or outside the labour force.

The survey provides detailed data on e.g. hours worked, conditions of employment, job search, and participation in courses and other education. Consequently the survey can, among other things, estimate the number of employed people who work at home regularly; how many self-employed people who work during weekends; or how many people have have a part-time job.

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Statistical processing

The Labour Force Survey is the most comprehensive continuous survey in Denmark. The interviews are conducted by online interview or telephone. The survey is based on a stratified sample of the population. In drawing the sample administrative resources are used to obtain various background information on the people interviewed. The sample is weighted to measure the entire population in Denmark. From 2017, all the invitation letters to the survey will be sent via E-box.

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The Danish Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the contribution to the European LFS and data are delivered quarterly to the European Statistical office Eurostat.

Labour Force Surveys are carried out in every European country as well as in many other countries around the world following common concepts and guidelines. This makes the Labour Force Survey the best Danish survey for international comparisons on labour market statistics.

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Accuracy and reliability

The Labour Force Survey is a reliable survey as a result of the sample size and the ongoing improvements in the weighting method. The LFS is by far the most reliable source when comparing labour market development internationally.

The survey has some sampling errors attached, which are related to the sample selection and the patterns of non-response.

The share of non-response is unusually high in the 1st quarter of 2016. This has created a higher unreliability. CAWI has also been introduced as a new data collection mode. These two changes have created a break in the time series.

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Timeliness and punctuality

The Labour Force Survey is published quarterly in the series Quarterly, Theme, Europe and Year.

Quarterly data are published 1.5 months after a quarter has ended. Theme is published two months after the end of the quarter and European is published about 3.5 months after the quarter has ended. Year is published 1.5 months after the end of Q4.

The statistics are usually published without delay in relation to the scheduled date.

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From the first quarter of 2017 the LFS was conducted by a different data collector and the response rate has increased. This change has resulted in a significant break which is explained here: Data Break17(in Danish).

CAWI was introduced in the 1st quarter of 2016. This combined with a low response rate have created a general break in the time series which is explained here: Data Break16(in Danish).

The method of weighting in the LFS has been revised several times over the years, which can influence the development in the figures of employment and unemployment.

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Accessibility and clarity

The LFS is published quarterly Nyt fra Danmarks Statistik (News from Statistics Denmark) in the series * Quarterly *, * Theme *, * European * and * Year *.

Statistical data are available in Statbank Denmark.

Subject pages: -Labour force participation. -Employment. -Unemployment.

Buy more detailed LFS data: Tailor-made analyses.

Gain access to Micro-data through Statistics Denmark's registers: Research Services.

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