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Labour and Income, Social Statistics
Martin Faris Sawaed Nielsen
+45 39 17 34 98

mfs@dst.dk

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Labour Force Survey (LFS)

The Labor Force Survey is a quarterly sample-based interview survey on the Danish population between 15 and 89 years. The survey sheds light on how many are employed, unemployed (LFS unemployed) or outside the labor force. The survey provides detailed data on e.g. hours worked, conditions of employment, job search, education by regions, age and sex. 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.

Data description

The main variable in the Labour Force Survey is the labour market status of the population.

The survey classifies people into two main categories: people in the labour force and people outside the labour force. Furthermore, people in the labour force are categorized as either employed or unemployed. Conscripts are considered employed.

The classification of respondents is based on their labour market status and follows EU definitions and recommendations from the International Labour Organization (ILO) definitions: Every respondent is interviewed about one specific reference week. All questions on work, working hours, unemployment etc. relate to this specific week.

LFS questionaire

Classification system

The survey classifies people into two main categories: people in the labour force and people outside the labour force. Furthermore, people in the labour force are categorized as either employed or unemployed. Conscripts are considered employed.

The classification of respondents is based on their labour market status and follows EU definitions and recommendations from the International Labour Organization (ILO) definitions: Every respondent is interviewed about one specific reference week. All questions on work, working hours, unemployment etc. relate to this specific week.

Employed are all people, who in the reference week worked for payment or worked as self-employed or family workers for at least one hour. People temporarily absent perhaps due to vacation, illness, or maternity leave are considered to be employed.

Unemployed are all people without employment, who have actively been looking for work in the past four weeks prior to the reference week and who are able to begin a job within two weeks after the reference week ends. Active job-search methods include contact with a public employment office, applications to employers, contact with friends, relatives or trade unions, or for example studying or answering advertisements in newspapers or journals. Looking for permits, licences, financial resources, land, premises or equipment for potential self-employment are also considered as active job search.

Everyone else is categorized outside the labour force.

The labour market status of students follows these definitions. This means that students who are seeking jobs and are able to start within 14 days are defined as LFS-unemployed.

Classification of industry groups: People in the Labour Force Survey are also classified into industry groups, i.e. based on the businesses they work in, for example in wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, or in manufacturing. From 1st quarter 2009 the Danish nomenclature Dansk Branchekode 2007 (Danish Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities), (DB07) has been applied to classify the industry group of the respondents. The nomenclature DB07 is based on the definitions of the European Union's nomenclature NACE rev. 2 from January 2008. From 2003 until 2008 Dansk Branchekode 2003 (Danish Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities), (DB03) was applied and from 1994 until 2002 Dansk Branchekode 1993 (Danish Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities), (DB93) was applied. Before 1994 the classification of industries of 1st April 1977 was used.

Classification of occupation: People in the Labour Force Survey are also classified into occupation: Statistics Denmark's Classification of Occupations (DISCO-08)(Danish). The classification is a tool for organizing jobs or occupational functions in clearly defined groups, in relation to the tasks performed in the job or occupation. The use of DISCO-08 makes it possible to compare people with the same job function - regardless of the employee's formal title and education. DISCO-08 is the official Danish version of the international professional classification, International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08), which is prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Classification of education: From 2014 the classification of education ISCED-2011 defined by UNESCO is applied. People in the Labour Force Survey are now classified by Classification of education (DISCED-15).

Read more here: Classifications.

Sector coverage

Not relevant for these statistics.

Statistical concepts and definitions

Person: 15-89 years old.

Employment rate: The employment rate is the number of employed persons compared to the number of persons in the same group of age in the population.

Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons compared to the number of persons in the same group of age in the labour force (employed and unemployed).

Activity rate: The activity rate (or the labour force participation rate) is the number of persons in the labour force, both employed and unemployed, compared to the number of persons in the same group of age in the population.

Labour force reserve: Labour force reserve The labour force reserve is made up of persons who are available to the labour market, i.e. employed persons, who wish to work more, and unemployed persons. The labour force reserve rises if more people become unemployed or the employed persons wish to work more. More people are unemployed if the employed lose their job or inactive persons start looking for one. The labour force reserve contains the number of hours that the employed wish to work more than their current weekly working hours, added to the number of hours the unemployed wish to work pr. week. This number is multiplied by the 52 weeks of the year and converted to full time equivalents of 1924 hours (the Danish standard full time equivalent). If the respondent is unable to give the number of hours he/she normally works per week, the contractual number of hours is used. For employees with flexi time systems, the contractual hours are always used, since overtime is expected to be compensated by reduced work in other weeks. Unemployed persons are divided depending on their wish for full-time or part-time work. Depending on the amount of work they look for, they are weighted according to the average hours worked by the corresponding employees in the current quarter. The labour force reserve is split into economic activity areas according to the following criteria: For the employed part of the reserve, the economic activity is taken from their main job. For the unemployed part, the economic activity is taken from the main job they had, when they were last employed.

Working time: The Labour Force Survey asks about three different types of working time in a specific reference week; usual, contractual and actual working hours.

Flexitime: Flexitime means that you can choose when to work within a fixed period of time. For example: You must be at work between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm but the rest of the working day is flexitime. You can completely decide your working time for yourself as long as you work for an agreed number of hours during a week or month. Typically, it's not a question of determining how much you work, but you can decide when to work. For example, if you have a contract to work 37 hours a week, you might work 35 hours in one week and 39 hours in the next week, but over time you still work the 37 hours a week, which is the agreement. Flexitime is basically part of one's working time agreement. Flexitime is also predominantly for people who have a working time contract. People without a contract may have a very varied working time, but it is not considered flexitime if there is no working time contract.

Reference week: The specific week that the respondent is asked about. Whether you are employed or LFS unemployed, how many hours you have worked during the week etc., is related to the specific reference week. The date of the interview can be up to four weeks after the reference week, typically 1-2 weeks after. There are 13 reference weeks per quarter.

Weighting method: The way in which the sample is weighted to the entire population, in order to make the results as representative as possible. It is always weighted figures that are being published. The method of weighting practically means that each person participating in the LFS gets his or her own weight and hereby represents a specific sample of the population with regards to sex and age. The method of weighting has been revised several times over the years (read more under Documentation on methodology.

Statistical unit

The survey classifies people into two main categories: people in the labour force and people outside the labour force. Furthermore, people in the labour force are categorized as either employed or unemployed. Conscripts are considered employed.

Labour market status refers to whether persons are employed, unemployed or outside the labour force. Employment status refers to whether persons are employees, self-employed, contributing family workers etc.

The classification of respondents is based on their labour market status and follows EU definitions and recommendations from the International Labour Organization (ILO) definitions: Every respondent is interviewed about one specific reference week. All questions on work, working hours, unemployment etc. relate to this specific week.

Statistical population

The population is the resident population in Denmark aged 15-89.

Reference area

The LFS covers all persons aged 15-89 who live permanently in Denmark. They are able to work in either Denmark or abroad, as long as they permanent live in Denmark.

Time coverage

The Danish Labour Force Survey has been conducted yearly since 1984, and from 1994 the survey has been conducted continuously throughout the year. In January 2007 the survey was expanded considerably and the data collection process was outsourced. In November 2011 a revised weighting method was implemented and data going back to 2007 were revised. The data series in StatBank Denmark were updated, applying the revised weights (see Comparability - over time). From 2021 the LFS is adapted to a new EU framework regulation and population has changed to include the age group from 75-89 years. The weighting method has also been changed to include the age group 75-89 years. For both the age group 65-74 year olds and 75-89 year olds it applies that so far they are only reported to (and published by) Eurostat and are not included in the national dissemination via http://www.Statbank.dk.

Base period

Not relevant for these statistics.

Unit of measure

  • The LFS is measured by number of persons. Because of confidentiality all published figures are rounded to nearest thousands.
  • The LFS is published both in number of persons and in percentage.

Reference period

01-07-2022 - 30-09-2022

Frequency of dissemination

The Labour Force Survey is published quarterly in News from Statistics Denmark in the series * Quarterly *, * Europe * and is published yearly in * Year *.

  • Quarterly results are published 1.5 months after a quarter has ended.
  • The European-publications are published 3.5 months after the quarter has ended.
  • Yearly-results are published at the same time as the Quarterly-News for Q4.

Scheduled Releases

Legal acts and other agreements

The Act on Statistics Denmark.

The processing of data must be approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency, which is responsible for the general supervision and administration. The LFS follows the Act on Processing of Personal Data. All employed with connection to the LFS must beforehand sign a statement of privacy.

The Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998 on the organisation of a labour force survey in the Community. Regulation (EC) No 2257/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2003 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force survey in the Community to adapt the list of survey characteristics.

From January 1st 2021 the LFS is adapted to a new EU framework regulation Regulation 2019/1700.

The definitions in the LFS comply with the guidelines as laid down by the ILO, the international labour market organization of the UN. The operationalization of the concepts is made by Eurostat, who coordinates the common European Labour Force Survey. The operationalization is hereby recommended by ILO and Eurostat.

International definitions.

Cost and burden

Response burden is not calculated.

Comment

The Labor Force Survey (LFS) has three different subject pages:

Other documentation on The quarterly LFS.

Read more about The monthly LFS.

Changes in variables for Q3 2022: REGISTER is now produced only using register information. In the past, we asked everyone if they were registered at the unemployment center – in order to capture people that were registered and not receiving benefits. This was unnecessary, as only persons receiving benefits are registered at the unemployment office. This change leads to a better cohesion between the actual registers and the LFS variable REGISTER.

WANTREAS is now automatically coded as 6 for pensioners. In order to reduce the burden on respondents, we do not ask persons receiving age-related pensions about the reason for not wanting to work. Instead, we automatically assign the value ‘6 – Retirement’.