Labour Force Survey

Description of the data collection

The Labour Force Survey is an inquiry that is used in compiling official statistics describing employment and unemployment. For example, Finland's official employment and unemployment rates are based on it. The Labour Force Survey is based on EU Regulations (EC No 577/98) and it complies with the concepts and definitions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Labour Force Survey questions concern employment and other activities, working hours, job seeking and ways of job seeking. There are also questions on studying and participation in course training. Some of the respondents are also asked additional questions with a yearly changing topic. The topics have included accidents at work and work-related health problems, transition from school to working life, length and patterns of working time, work capacity and employment, lifelong learning, reconciliation between work and family life, and transition from work into retirement.

The data are collected mainly by telephone, and the same respondent is interviewed five times in all during one and a half years. The interview takes four to eight minutes, on average.

From whom are data collected?

The monthly sample of 12,000 persons is drawn randomly from Statistics Finland’s database on the population of Finland.
Provision of data for the Labour Force Survey is voluntary. However, it is of key importance to reply to the survey as it aims to provide as reliable as possible a picture of the labour market situation of the entire population. Each person selected to the survey represents around 300 other Finns aged 15 to 74 and nobody can be replaced by another respondent. However, the respondent may permit another person to respond on his or her behalf.
The survey concerns all population groups: employees, self-employed persons and persons who are not gainfully employed, such as pensioners, students, homemakers and unemployed.

Data processing

The Statistics Act obliges Statistics Finland to treat the data as confidential and use them only for statistical and research purposes. The results will be published in the form of tables and graphs from which the answers of individual persons cannot be identified.

What are the data used for?

The Labour Force Survey provides up-to-date information about the employment situation of Finns as a basis for research and social decision-making both in Finland and in the EU. Major users of the data also include the OECD and ILO, and several research institutes in Finland and abroad. The Labour Force Survey produces monthly, quarterly and annual data on employment, unemployment, different employment relationships, working hours and work input, for example.

The Labour Force Survey also examines the activity of persons in the inactive population, such as the number of young people without work, and education and training. In addition, the Labour Force Survey contains data reported annually on the employment of households.

The first data are published approximately three to four weeks from the reference period. A file complying with the relevant Regulation is also supplied quarterly to the EU, from which the EU compiles comparable statistics concerning its Member States.

The data from the data collection are used in the following statistics:

Changes

The data content and data collection method of the Labour Force Survey have been revised as from the beginning of 2008 to comply with the EU Regulation concerning the Labour Force Survey. In this connection, the data content was extended and the definitions of some concepts were revised.

How often are data collected?

Other regular