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 European Commission > Eurostat > Access to microdata > European Union Labour Force Survey

European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS)

Information on data details relevant for Research Project Proposals:

AGE – by 5-year bands
NATIONALITY/COUNTRY OF BIRTH – up to 15 predefined groups
NACE – at 1-digit level
ISCO – at 3-digit level
INCOME – only provided as (national) deciles and from 2009
HHNUM – household numbers are randomised per dataset, not allowing to track respondents across time

Description of the dataset

The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) is conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, 2 candidate countries and 3 countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No. 577/98 of 9 March 1998. At the moment, the LFS microdata for scientific purposes contain data for all Member States in addition to Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

The EU LFS is a large household sample survey providing quarterly results on labour participation of people aged 15 and over as well as on persons outside the labour force. All definitions apply to persons aged 15 years and over living in private households. Persons carrying out obligatory military or community service are not included in the target group of the survey, as is also the case for persons in institutions/collective households.

The national statistical institutes are responsible for selecting the sample, preparing the questionnaires, conducting the direct interviews among households, and forwarding the results to Eurostat in accordance with the common coding scheme.

The data collection covers the years from 1983 onwards. In general, data for individual countries are available depending on their accession date. The Labour Force Surveys are conducted by the national statistical institutes across Europe and are centrally processed by Eurostat:


• Using the same concepts and definitions 
• Following International Labour Organisation guidelines 
• Using common classifications (NACE, ISCO, ISCED, NUTS) 
• Recording the same set of characteristics in each country 

In 2012, the quarterly LFS sample size across the EU was about 1.5 millions of individuals. The EU-LFS covers all industries and occupations.

The 2013 LFS microdata including years 1983-2012 data were released end of November 2013. For full details on the anonymised LFS microdata, please consult documents below:


Information note 

Anonymisation criteria 

User guide 


European Union Labour Force Survey: Additional information

LFS based data

A significant amount of data from the European Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) is also available in Eurostat's online dissemination database, which is regularly updated and available free of charge. The EU LFS is the main data source for the domain ‘employment and unemployment’ in the database. The contents of this domain include tables on population, employment, working time, permanency of the job, professional status etc. The data is commonly broken down by age, sex, education level, economic activity and occupation where applicable.

Several elements of indicator sets for policy monitoring are also derived from the EU LFS and freely available in the online database. The structural indicators on employment include the employment rate, the employment rate of older workers, the average exit age from the labour force, the participation in life-long learning and the unemployment rate. The sustainable development indicators also include employment rates by age and educational attainment as well as the population living in jobless households and the long-term unemployment rate.

Detailed access procedure

See also

Last update 27.01.2014