6. Concepts and definitions used in the Finnish Labour Force Survey

  • Active population

    All persons aged 15 to 74 who were employed or unemployed during the survey week belong to the active population. The concept of labour force can also be used of the active population.

  • Activity rate

    The ratio of those in the active population to the population of the same age.The concept of labour force participation rate can also be used of the activity rate.

  • Annual hours worked

    See hours actually worked per employed

  • Disguised unemployment

    Persons outside the labour force who would like gainful work and would be available for work within a fortnight, but who have not looked for work in the past four weeks are counted as persons in disguised unemployment. The reasons for disguised unemployment are giving up searching for a job or other reasons, such as studies, caring for children or health reasons.

  • Employed

    A person is employed if he/she has during the survey week been in gainful employment at least one hour against wages or salary or fringe benefits, or to make profit, or has been temporarily absent from work. A person absent from work in the survey week is counted as employed if the reason for absence is maternity or paternity leave or if the absence has lasted under three months. Employed persons can be employees, self-employed or members of the same household working without actual pay in an enterprise owned by a family member.

  • Employee

    Employee is a person who works in paid employment for a pay or fee. Employees are further classified into manual workers and salaried employees.

  • Employer sector

    The employed are divided according to the employer into public and private sectors. The public sector is sub-divided into central and local government. In the Labour Force Survey the employer sector is determined on the basis of the information on the job or enterprise in the Business Register. The classification differs to some extent from that used in the National Accounts.

  • Employment rate

    The ratio of employed persons to the population of the same age. The employment rate of the total population is calculated as the ratio of 15 to 64-year-old employed persons to the population of the same age.

  • Evening work

    Evening work is work made between 6 and 11 pm.

  • Fixed-term employment

    Employees with an employment contract for a fixed term, for a trial period, or for carrying out certain tasks are considered as being in fixed-term employment.

  • Full-time work

    Employees or self-employed persons who report they work full-time in their main job are classified as full-time workers. The definition is not based on any hour limits, but on the respondent's own idea of the work being full-time.

  • Hired work/Temporary agency work

    An employment relationship in which the employee works through an agency providing or hiring labour force.

  • Hours actually worked per employed'

    Hours actually worked per employed are a mathematical concept, derived by dividing the number of all hours worked in a year by the annual average of employed persons. Thus is obtained the average annual hours actually worked per employed. Hours actually worked can also be calculated separately for employees.

  • Hours actually worked per week

    Hours actually worked per week are the number of hours worked by an employee, self-employed or unpaid family worker in the survey week. Hours actually worked per week are inquired separately on main and secondary jobs. Included are also paid and unpaid overtime hours. On the other hand, holidays, mid-week holidays and absences for other reasons (e.g. sickness) shorten hours actually worked per week.

  • Hours actually worked per year

    Hours actually worked per year are the sum of hours worked by all employed persons, or the actual work input. It can be calculated by month, quarter or year. Hours actually worked include hours at main and secondary jobs as well as paid and unpaid overtime hours.

  • Inactive population

    The economically inactive population consists of persons who are not employed or unemployed during the survey week. The concept of persons not in labour force can also be used of the inactive population.

  • Industry

    The industry is defined for the main and secondary jobs of employed persons according to the employer's establishment or the industry of one's own enterprise. Statistics Finland's Standard Industrial Classification is used in the definition of industry.

  • Labour force

    See Active population

  • Labour force participation rate

    See Activity rate

  • Long-term unemployed

    Long-term unemployed is a person who has been continuously unemployed during the survey time for 12 months or longer.

  • Main job

    The main job is the only or principal job of an employed person. Where several jobs exist, the main job is usually the job on which the respondent spends the most time or from which the highest income is earned. The definition of main and secondary jobs is based on the respondent's own reporting.

  • Night work

    Night work is work made between 11 pm and 6 am.

  • Not in labour force

    See Inactive population

  • Occupation

    Data on occupations are based on the interviewees' own reporting in the Labour Force Survey. The occupation of an employed person is defined according to the occupation in the main job. The occupation of an unemployed person is determined according to the situation before unemployment. In the Labour Force Survey the occupation is classified according to the classifications of occupations used at Statistics Finland.

  • Overtime ratio

    The ratio of those working paid overtime hours in the survey week to all employed persons.

  • Overtime work

    Overtime work is made by an employee in addition to agreement-based working hours. Overtime may be unpaid or paid, for which compensation is received either in pay or as time off.

  • Part-time work

    Employees or self-employed persons who report they work part-time in their main job are classified as part-time workers. The definition is not based on any hour limits, but on the respondent's own idea of the work being part-time.

  • Persons at work/not at work

    An employed person who was at work at least on one day in the survey week is counted as being at work. An employed person who was temporarily absent from work during the whole survey week because of holiday, sickness or lay-off period, for example, is counted as not being at work.

  • Private sector

    In the Labour Force Survey the employer sector is determined on the basis of the information on the job or enterprise in the Business Register. The classification differs to some extent from that used in the National Accounts. The private sector comprises those whose employer is a company (including companies owned by the state or municipality), a private person, an enterprise, a foundation, a co-operative or an association, and those who are self-employed or own-account workers. Non-profit institutions, such as the church and parishes, are also included in the private sector.

  • Public sector

    In the Labour Force Survey the employer sector is determined on the basis of the information on the job or enterprise in the Business Register. The classification differs to some extent from that used in the National Accounts. The public sector includes central and local government. The central government sector includes state administration, universities, the Social Insurance Institution, the Bank of Finland and unincorporated central government enterprises. Municipalities and joint municipal authorities comprise the municipal administration, the municipal school system, as well as the unincorporated service institutions and agencies of the municipalities and joint municipal authorities, such as health centres, hospitals, day-care centres and unincorporated enterprises.

  • Regular weekly working hours

    See Usual weekly working hours

  • Secondary job

    Work made in addition to the employee's or self-employed person's main job. The definition of main and secondary jobs is based on the respondent's own reporting. The secondary job is usually the job on which less time is spent or from which the earnings gained are lower than from the main job.

  • Secondary job rate

    The ratio of those working at secondary jobs in the survey week to all employed persons.

  • Self-employed

    Self-employed persons are those who are engaged in economic activities on their own account and at their own risk. Self-employed can be self-employed with employees or without employees, such as own-account workers or freelancers. A person acting in a limited company, who alone or together with his/her family owns at least one half of the company, is counted as self-employed.

  • Self-employed employer

    A self-employed person employing paid labour force.

  • Self-employed without employees

    A self-employed person or an own-account worker with no paid labour force.

  • Shift work

    Shift work is work in which shifts change regularly according to an agreed rota of time periods. If the person permanently works only a specific shift, such as night shift, he/she is not counted as a shift worker.

  • Sickness day

    Absence from the main job in the survey week because of the employed person's own sickness or accident.

  • Socio-economic group

    Employees are classified according to socio-economic group into upper-level and lower-level employees and manual workers. Self-employed persons can be grouped into self-employed without employees, self-employed with employees and unpaid family workers. Statistics Finland's Classification of Socio-economic Groups is used in the classification.

  • Status in employment

    Status in employment classifies employed persons into those in paid employment, that is, into employees and self-employed and unpaid family workers. Self-employed persons can also be grouped into self-employed without employees and self-employed with employees. For an unemployed person the status in employment is defined according to the job preceding unemployment.

  • Underemployed

  • Unemployed

    A person is unemployed if he/she is without work during the survey week (not in paid employment or working as self-employed), has actively sought employment in the past four weeks as an employee or self-employed and would be available for work within two weeks. A person who is without work and waiting for an agreed job to start within three months is also classified as unemployed if he/she could start work within two weeks. Persons laid off for the time being who fulfil the above-mentioned criteria are also counted as unemployed.

  • Unemployment rate

    The unemployment rate is the ratio of the unemployed to the labour force of the same age, i.e. employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate of the total population is calculated as the ratio of 15 to 74-year-old unemployed persons to the active population (labour force) of the same age.

  • Unpaid family worker

    Unpaid family workers are members of the same household working without actual pay in an enterprise or farm owned by a family member.

  • Usual weekly working hours

    An employed person's usual weekly working hours are the customary or average weekly working hours in the main job. Absences have no effect on usual weekly working hours. For employees usual weekly working hours include paid or unpaid overtime. Earlier the concepts of normal working hours or regular weekly working hours were used.

  • Work attendance rate

    The ratio of persons at work to the total number of employed persons.


Source: Labour force survey 2009. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Heidi Melasniemi-Uutela (09) 1734 2523, Olga Kambur (09) 1734 3565, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 3.12.2010

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. 17 2009, 6. Concepts and definitions used in the Finnish Labour Force Survey . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 5.3.2015].
Access method: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/2009/17/tyti_2009_17_2010-12-03_kat_006_en.html?tulosta

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