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 European Commission > Eurostat > Employment and unemployment (LFS) > Introduction

Introduction

Main features of the EU-LFS and scope of data

The EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) is the largest European household sample survey, providing quarterly and annual data on labour participation of people aged 15 and over and on persons outside the labour force. It covers residents in private households according to labour status
  • employment
  • unemployment
  • inactivity

The data can be broken down according to multiple dimensions including age, sex, educational attainment, and distinctions between permanent/temporary and full-time/part-time employment.

The EU-LFS currently covers 33 (participating) countries, providing Eurostat with data from national labour force surveys: the 28 Member States of the European Union, three EFTA countries (Iceland, which at the same time is an EU candidate country, Norway and Switzerland), and two EU candidate countries, i.e. the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

Data collection

Each quarter some 1.8 million interviews are conducted throughout the participating countries to obtain statistical information for some 100 variables. The sampling rates in the various countries vary between 0.2 % and 3.3 %.

Use of data

The LFS is an important source of information on the situation and trends in the EU labour market. Most notably, it forms the basis for the monthly harmonised unemployment rate, one of Eurostat's key short-term indicators. Due to the diversity of information and the large sample size the EU-LFS is also an important source for other European statistics, e.g. education statistics or regional statistics.

For a detailed overview on the EU-LFS, please see: EU Labour Force Survey (Statistics Explained).

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Last update 18.09.2013