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The Monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS)

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Labour and Income, Social Statistics
Tine Cordes
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The Monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS)


The purpose of the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) is to supplement the quarterly survey with monthly numbers on the overall attachment of the population to the labour market.

The monthly LFS was started October 2013. The time series have been made back to January 2007, and in Eurostat's databases they will also be revised back to 2007.

Like the quarterly survey the monthly LFS follows international guidelines from the International Labour Organization (ILO) governing statistics on the labour market status of the population.

Statistical presentation

The publication of the monthly Labour Force Survey as well as the monthly tables in Statbank Denmark will be suspended and not updated from the publication for January 2022 until a new method for calculating the monthly figures has been developed. The new method for calculating the monthly Labour Force Survey is expected to be developed during the first half of 2022, after which the publication again will be published for August in September 2022.

Large parts of Danish society were closed down as a result of COVID-19 in the middle of March 2020 and again in the middle of December 2020. The shutdown of society, as well as the measures taken to offset the negative effects of the shutdown, have greatly affected the labor market, both the employment and the unemployment. It is still not yet known what the effect of the recent shutdown will have on the LFS employment and unemployment. In addition, COVID-19 may have affected the composition of the respondents in the data collection for the Labor Force Survey (LFS), and it remains to be analyzed whether there is a need to methodologically correct for a possible bias in the figures under COVID-19.

The monthly LFS analyses the 15-74 year old population's attachment to the labour market. It primarily focuses on the overall numbers for unemployment and employment. These numbers are also published on the sub-groups sex and the age groups 15-24 and 25-74 years.

As a result of the smaller sample and the larger margins of uncertainty the numbers of the monthly LFS will be made on the basis of a three month sliding average, where two of the months consist of collected data and the last month consists of a forecast.

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Statistical processing

The monthly Labour Force Survey is based on sample with interviews and the figures are weighted with administrative resources.

The monthly LFS is based on a three months moving average, where the last month is based on a forecast. The choice of method, the three month moving average, also has the consequence that it is best practice to compare three months back if months are to be compared

The figures are revised twice. The first time the forecast is replaced with collected data and finally the monthly results are revised by benchmarking the monthly results to the quarterly results.

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The monthly LFS supplements the quarterly LFS. Due to the smaller sample size only aggregated series on employment and unemployment with sub groups on sex and age groups 15-24 and 25-74 are published. The monthly results give a quick on going update on the development in the employment and unemployment. The monthly results are used by different users e.g. ministries, international organizations and journalists, but mainly by Eurostat.

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Accuracy and reliability

The monthly LFS is of a good quality and is a markedly improvement compared with the formerly Eurostat produced monthly results.

As a result of the smaller sample size and the lack of persons overlapping over between months the quality is lower on the monthly results compared to the quarterly results. This means that only selected key numbers on employment and unemployment on the sub-groups sex and the two age groups 15-24 and 25-74 are published.

The register-based unemployment is disseminated together with the monthly LFS, so potential differences can be addressed.

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Timeliness and punctuality

The Monthly Labour Force Survey is published at the end of the month after the end of the reference month. the survey is published without any delays in relation to the scheduled date.

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In Eurostat's database the Monthly LFS exists back to 1983. This series, however, has a starting point in January 2007. This constitutes a break in series, which must be taken into consideration if long time series are constructed.

Data is delivered to the Statistical Office of the European Union Eurostat monthly, where data for all EU countries can be found. Concerning this one has to be aware of the methodological differences in producing the monthly data.

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Accessibility and clarity

The difference between the two unemployment figures is described here Unemployment.

Statistical data are also available in Statbank Denmark (Table AKU100M and AKU101M).

Data is every month and every quarter delivered to the Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, where data for all EU countries can be found.

Three subject sites :Labour force participation, Employment and Unemployment.

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