Harmonised unemployment (1 000) - monthly data (ei_lmhu_m)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit F3: Labour market
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 10/03/2010
2.2. Metadata last posted 10/03/2010
2.3. Metadata last update 22/04/2013

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Unemployment - LFS adjusted series (including also Harmonised long-term unemployment) is a collection of monthly, quarterly and annual series based on the quarterly results of the EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), which are, where necessary, adjusted and enriched in various ways, in accordance with the specificities of an indicator.

Harmonised unemployment is published in the section 'LFS main indicators', which is a collection of the main statistics on the labour market. However the harmonized unemployment indicators are calculated with special methods and periodicity which justify the present page.

This page focuses on the particularities of the estimation of harmonised unemployment (including unemployment rates). Other information on 'LFS main indicators' can be found in the respective ESMS page, see link in section 21.2. General information on the EU-LFS can be found in the ESMS page for 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)'.  Detailed information on the main features, the legal basis, the methodology and the data as well as on the historical development of the EU-LFS is available on the EU-LFS (Statistics Explained) webpage.

3.2. Classification system

See une_esms

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

See une_esms

3.5. Statistical unit


3.6. Statistical population

See une_esms

3.7. Reference area

European Union, Euro area, EU Member States, Candidate Countries, Norway, USA and Japan. Data for Cyprus refer only to the areas of Cyprus controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Data for France do not include the overseas departments (DOM). Data for USA and Japan are also disseminated.

3.8. Coverage - Time

EU-27 data are available from 2000, EU-25 data are available from 1998, euro area data from 1993 and data for individual Member States even from 1983.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

Data are expressed in unemployment rates (see definition above in section 3.4) and thousands of persons.

5. Reference Period Top

The reference periods are the calendar months, quarters or years, depending on the indicator. They are defined building up time periods based on the EU-LFS reference week. For details please refer to the ESMS page on 'Employment and unemployment (LFS)' (see link below in section 21.2).

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

See une_esms

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

EU-LFS microdata as received by Eurostat from the national statistical institutes do not contain any administrative information such as names or addresses that would allow direct identification. Access to this microdata is nevertheless strictly controlled and limited to specified Eurostat staff. After data treatment, records are aggregated for all further use.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The precise date of data release is disseminated on the Eurostat's website.

8.2. Release calendar access

The release dates are disseminated on Euro-Indicators Release Calendar.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

In line with this protocol and on a strictly regulated basis, data on unemployment are sent for information to the European Central Bank (ECB) and to the European Commission Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (DG EMPL) under embargo the evening before official release of data.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Free publications and "Data in Focus" on line.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or address to ESTAT-LFS-USER-SUPPORT@ec.europa.eu.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

EU-LFS anonymised microdata are available for research purposes. Please refer to access to microdata.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

See: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat

11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

See une_esms

11.2. Quality management - documentation

See une_esms

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

See une_esms

12.2. Quality management - assessment

See une_esms

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Relevance is high. Unemployment rates are among the most important socio-economic indicators. Monthly unemployment rates are Eurostat Euro-indicators; annual unemployment rates and long-term unemployment rates are Structural Indicators.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

See une_esms

13.3. Completeness

See une_esms

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

See une_esms

14.2. Sampling error

See une_esms

14.3. Non-sampling error

See une_esms

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

Monthly data on seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are published approximately 31 days after the end of the month (average timeliness of 2009 releases). The quarterly series are updated at approximately 120 days after the end of reference quarter. Annual averages are published along with quarter 4 data.

15.2. Punctuality

Not available.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

A common Council regulation ((EC) No 577/98), common variable definition (Commission Regulation (EC) No 430/2005), common explanatory notes (The European Union Labour Force Survey. Methods and definitions - 2001) and common regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No 1897/2000) regarding the definition of unemployment and the twelve principles of questionnaire construction go a long way to ensure comparability of the statistics between the Participating Countries. This is, however, mainly true for the main characteristics, employment and unemployment where particular definitions and sequence of questions are part of the EU legislation. For other variables, each country has the responsibility to ensure that the national survey provides data that are compatible with the EU definitions and of the same quality.

Often questions are asked concerning the comparability between the monthly unemployment rates (or their quarterly and annual averages) and the direct results of the LFS. In particular, for France, Germany and the Netherlands the two data sets are not consistent. For France, the LFS for the monthly calculations are complemented with the DOM data (départements d'outre-mer) while the original LFS data cover only "France Métropolitaine". For Germany, unemployment is measured with the LFS, but the employment used in the denominator of the rate is derived from the so-called Employment Accounts. For the Netherlands, differences in the weighting schemes currently applied to the monthly and quarterly data lead to divergences. For the latter two Member States these discrepancies will be corrected during the course of 2011.

16.2. Comparability - over time

From 2006 onwards, Commission Regulation (EC) No 430/2005 of 15 March 2005 regulates the codification to be used for data transmission and the use of a sub-sample for the collection of data on structural variables (OJ No L 71/36). As for the participating countries, main changes referred either to the mode of data collection or to adaptations of the questionnaire.

Often questions are asked concerning the comparability between the monthly unemployment rates (or their quarterly and annual averages) and the direct results of the LFS. Some of the differences are due to the different nature of the two data sets, but some of the differences occur just because the transition period preceding the use of the most recent quarterly data is not yet completed:

- In the monthly application, the idea is to keep the time series as comparable in time as possible. It means that possible breaks in the LFS series due to changes in the definitions or in the filtering of the micro data have been adjusted: in 1991/1992 there was general definition precision; the gradual implementation of the 'new' unemployment definition following the Regulation (EC) 1897/2000 still leads to backwards revisions while also a general improvement in the micro data filtering of the LFS data from 2001 onwards caused breaks and backwards adjustments. While the original LFS data consists of the raw series as they are recorded at each point of time, the same series are adjusted when they are used as benchmarks for the monthly harmonized time series;

- Where moving averages of the LFS are used either as a temporary or definitive solution, the monthly data do not match the corresponding quarterly LFS data;

- In the cases where only the LFS data of the Spring quarters are used, quarterly and annual averages obtained from the monthly unemployment data differ from the corresponding LFS data. This situation gradually improves when the complete results of the LFS become available and are applied.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

Often questions are asked concerning coherence with registered unemployment. Both indicators are not comparable. First they have different definitions, registration rules are not harmonised internationally and they do not correspond to ILO standards. There could be other reasons for differences: different geographical coverage (e.g. regions excluded), different time coverage, etc.

17.2. Coherence - internal

The headline figures published in the monthly News Release are seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, which are different from the LFS non-seasonally adjusted data. The non-seasonally adjusted monthly data are consistent with the published LFS data.

18. Cost and Burden Top

Not available

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

The complete time series are re-calculated with every estimation. This 12 times a year for monthly data, and 4 times a year for quarterly and annual data. In each one of those releases previously released data could be revised.

Every month new figures from the public employment offices' administrative registers or from the EU-LFS are added into the process and new estimates are calculated. This might cause a slight revision in the past figures due to the re-execution of the seasonal adjustment procedure. Whenever new EU-LFS data become available, a potentially larger revision takes place from the months of that particular quarter onwards. Parameters used in the ARIMA models and for seasonal adjustment are reviewed annually.

19.2. Data revision - practice

See une_esms

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

See une_esms

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Monthly and quarterly.

20.3. Data collection

See une_esms

20.4. Data validation

See une_esms

20.5. Data compilation

See une_esms

20.6. Adjustment

See une_esms

21. Comment Top


Related metadata Top
employ_esms - Employment and unemployment (Labour Force Survey)
une_esms - Unemployment - LFS adjusted series

Annexes Top