3.12.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The Labour Force Survey provides a recent and comprehensive picture of the labour force and changes in the labour market. Public attention is focused each month especially on the changes in employment and unemployment from the corresponding month in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted time series and trend time series are used to monitor long-term development and cyclical variation. The survey also provides information about persons of working age who are not employed or job seekers. Since 2003, information has also been obtained from a subsample on the structure of households and the activities of all members of the household relative to the labour market. 
The Labour Force Survey contains continuously collected data that are used as monthly, quarterly and annual data and data asked from a subsample that are used only as annual data. From 2021 onwards, some annual data are collected every two years. The Labour Force Survey also includes a section with a yearly changing topic. The topic is related to the labour market, such as young people, transition from work to retirement, accidents at work or reconciliation of work and family life. Some topics are repeated regularly every eight years. Every four years the questions are connected to a topical subject to be decided separately.
A description of the data content of the Labour Force Survey is available at: https://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/tyti_2021-03-02_tlu_001_en.html.

Statistical presentation

The Labour Force Survey is a sample survey used in the compilation of monthly, quarterly and annual statistics on participation in the labour market, employment, unemployment and working hours among the population aged between 15 and 89. The data content of the Survey is based on an EU regulation, and the Survey sample includes approximately 12,500 persons every month.
At the beginning of 2021, the data content, data collection and estimation method of the Labour Force Survey were revised. The content of the questionnaire was harmonised more closely than before between different EU countries to improve the comparability of the data. The data content also extended when questions were added to the inquiry concerning the flexibility of working hours, the number of self-employed persons' customers and the working hours of secondary jobs. In addition, persons aged 75 to 89 were included in the survey as a new age group. The sample size of this age group is small and therefore data on the age group are not published on the monthly and quarterly levels. The monthly and quarterly Labour Force Survey data still concern the 15 to 74 age group.
The data collection method of the survey was renewed by offering the respondents the possibility to respond not only with telephone and face-to-face interviews but also with a web questionnaire. The new EU legislation, increased non-response and changes to the data collection method were taken into account in the formation of the sample and the calculation method of the results.
The information provided by the respondents is used to draw a picture of the activities of the entire population aged between 15 and 89 on the labour market during one week. In the basic classification of labour market status, the population is divided into the employed, the unemployed and the economically inactive. The active population (labour force) consists of the employed and the unemployed.
The survey is a panel survey in which one person is interviewed five times. The interviews are conducted every three months, apart from the fourth interview, which is conducted six months after the third interview. The first and last interviews are 15 months apart. The data content of the survey varies by survey round. Certain basic pieces of information are inquired in the first round and checks are then made in subsequent rounds to see whether they have remained unchanged. In the last round, that is, the fifth round, the data content is wider, and in addition to the basic survey, the inquiry also includes the household section and a section with a yearly changing topic. The household interview is conducted to ascertain the members who belong to the household of the target person and the activity of the household members aged 15 to 89 on the labour market. In order that the data would describe the whole population, a supplementing sample is added to it of households in which all members are aged 90 or over. Children under the age of 15 and persons aged over 89 are not interviewed in the Labour Force Survey, but certain information is formed for them based on register data to describe their status on the labour market. In addition to interview data, data are obtained from administrative registers available to Statistics Finland from the Register of Completed Education and Degrees and the tax register.

Statistical population

The statistics are based on sample data collected monthly with a web questionnaire and by interviewing. The population of the Labour Force Survey consists of persons aged between 15 and 89 who are permanent residents of Finland. The population also includes persons residing abroad temporarily (less than a year) as well as foreign nationals registered in the Finnish Population Information System who will reside in Finland at least one year.
In the survey, age is determined on the basis of real age at the time of the interview. The most aged persons are left out of the survey when they turn 90. Correspondingly hence 14-year-olds can belong to the sample but are included only after they have turned 15. 
The sample of the Labour Force Survey is drawn twice a year as a stratified systematic sampling from Statistics Finland’s population database, which is based on the Central Population Register. The NUTS1 division and age data are used in forming the strata. The strata are: Mainland Finland (aged 15 to 74), the Region of Åland (aged 15 to 74) and the 75 to 89 age group. A double sample is drawn of the population of Åland relative to its share of total population. The sampling frame is sorted by domicile code in the strata, i.e. the sample is divided regionally similarly as the population (geographically self-weighting sample). A total of 15,600 persons are drawn to the six-month sample:
•    Mainland Finland (aged 15 to 74): 14,800
•    Åland (aged 15 to 74): 200
•    Aged 75 to 89: 600
The six-month sample is divided evenly into monthly samples. The sample in each month consists of approximately 12,500 persons, which is, on average, every 370th person from the population.
In most European countries, the Labour Force Survey data are collected from a sample of households, which means that all members of a household living at the same address are interviewed at the same time. Besides Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland are the only other countries where the sample is based on individual persons, i.e. only the target persons drawn into the sample are interviewed. However, the EU regulation also requires data concerning households and in Finland this has been solved by exploiting the panel nature of the Labour Force Survey.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit of the Labour Force Survey is a person.

Unit of measure

 The measurement units of the Labour Force Survey are the number of persons (1,000 persons) and the number of hours worked (1,000 hours).

Reference period

The majority of the Labour Force Survey questions concern one week of the survey month. The data are collected by asking all respondents about their activities during the week in question. A continuous survey week is used in the Labour Force Survey data collection. This means that all weeks of the year are represented in the survey and the sample is divided evenly across weeks. The monthly, quarterly and annual results describe the situation in the “average” week of the survey period in question. Data on labour input are sums of the results of periods.

Reference area

The reference area of the Labour Force Survey is the whole of Finland. The data can be produced by the regional division of the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI), the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) and regions.

Sector coverage

Based on the information provided by the Labour Force Survey respondents, a picture is formed of the activity of the entire Finnish population aged 15 to 74 on the labour market during one week on the monthly, quarterly and annual level and on the activity of the population aged 15 to 89 only on the annual level.

Time coverage

At the beginning of 2021, the data content, data collection and estimation method of the Labour Force Survey are revised, for which reason the time series will be corrected retrospectively in spring 2021 until the year 2009. Uniform time series of data complying with the definitions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) are available on the web for the years 1989 to 2020.

Frequency of dissemination

The key monthly and quarterly results are released on predefined days on the Internet on the home page of the Labour Force Survey https://www.stat.fi/en/statistics/tyti.
The released data are final. Only seasonal adjustment slightly alters the latest seasonally adjusted monthly results. 
Monthly data are released approximately three weeks from the end of the survey month. Quarterly data are released simultaneously with the last monthly data of each quarter. Quarterly data are statistically more reliable than monthly data and contain more detailed data, such as on employment and labour input by industry and more specific regional data.

The most detailed results are published in annual statistics. Quarterly deliveries of data are made to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, which are used to compile statistics on EU Member States.

Concepts

Active population

Persons 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 actually worked per employed

Annual 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. Annual hours actually worked can also be calculated separately for employees.

Annual hours worked

See annual hours actually worked per employed

Contract-based weekly working hours

The employees’ contract-based weekly working hours are based on a written or oral employment contract. Working hours can also be defined in the general collective agreement. If the employment contract states the minimum number of hours, contract-based weekly working hours refers to them. If a person has annual working hours, total working time, a zero-hour contract, piecework or commission work, he/she is not considered to have contract-based weekly working hours.

Employed

A person is employed if he/she has been in employment at least one hour for pay or entrepreneurial income during the survey week. Persons temporarily absent from work during the survey week are also classified as employed if the reason for absence is maternity or paternity leave, earnings-related parental leave, own illness, holiday or working hour arrangements or if the absence lasts for under three months.

Employee

An employee is a person who works and receives pay or compensation for it. Employees are classified into workers and salaried employees.

Employer sector

Employed persons are classified by employer into public and private sectors. The public sector is further divided into central government and local government. The employer sector is determined on the basis of the data on the job or enterprise in the Business Register. The classification of the employer sector is based on the official Classification of Sectors 2012.

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 job

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

Laid off

In the Labour Force Survey, a person is defined as laid off if he or she has been completely absent from work in the survey week (also from a secondary job) and in the interview reports temporary lay-off as the reason for the absence. The person can be laid off either for a fixed period or for the time being. In the Labour Force Survey, a laid-off person may be defined either as employed, unemployed or economically inactive (http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/tyti_2013-08-20_men_006_en.html).

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 primary job of an employed person. If there are several jobs, the main job is the one on which the person spends most time. The division 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.

Non-employed

Non-employed is a person that is unemployed or in the 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

The private sector comprises those whose employer is a company (including state majority-owned or municipality-owned companies), a private person, an enterprise, a foundation, a cooperative 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

The public sector includes central government and local government. The central government sector includes state administration, universities, the Social Insurance Institution, unincorporated state enterprises and social security funds. Municipalities and joint municipal authorities comprise the municipal administration, the municipal school system, as well as the unincorporated service institutions and establishments of municipalities and joint municipal authorities, such as health centres, hospitals, day-care centres and unincorporated enterprises of municipalities and joint municipal authorities.

Secondary job

Work performed by the employee or self-employed person in addition to the main job. The secondary job is the job on which the person uses less time compared with the main job. The division of main and secondary jobs is based on the respondent's own reporting.

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.

Share of young people not working, studying or performing compulsory military service

The "share of young people not working, studying or performing compulsory military service" used by Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey describes the share of young people aged 15 to 24 who are not working, studying for a degree or qualification, attending course training or performing military or non-military service compared to the entire age group.

The figure of Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey differs slightly from the almost corresponding NEET rate used by Eurostat. NEET is an abbreviation of "Not in Employment, Education or Training". The figure published by Eurostat is based on data where the population does not include young people performing military or non-military service.

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. Half days are also included.

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.

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 active population (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

Person working without pay in an enterprise or on a farm owned by a family member.

Usual weekly working hours

An employed person's usual weekly working hours are normal or average weekly working hours in the main job. For employees usual weekly working hours include customary paid or unpaid overtime work. Absences, such as holidays or sickness absences, have no effect on usual weekly working hours.

Work attendance rate

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

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The reliability of the Labour Force Survey figures is affected by measurement errors, non-response due to sampling and random variation.  Measurement errors may arise if questions can be understood and interpreted in different ways or if the respondents do not give the requested information. Interviewer training and the testing of questionnaire forms are ways of reducing measurement error.
Non-response can be classified into unit non-response and item non-response or partial non-response. Unit non-response means that target persons cannot be interviewed at all because they refuse to be interviewed or cannot be reached. Weighting coefficients can be used to correct unit non-response. Item non-response refers to question-specific non-response. In such cases an interview has been conducted but data are missing in certain questions because the interview was interrupted or the interviewee refused to respond.

Random variation due to sampling means that figures calculated from different samples differ somewhat from each other. When evaluating roughly the magnitude of random variation due to sampling in different situations, the main principle is that 1) the larger the sample is from which the figures are calculated and 2) the larger the population described by the figures is, the less uncertainty due to sampling there will be in the figures. For instance, quarterly figures are more accurate than monthly figures in describing the same matter, as quarterly data have been collected by interviewing three times the number of persons interviewed for monthly data. Annual figures are the most accurate. The latter principle means that the figures of the employed and the unemployed, that is, the estimates, based on a sample of the same size are the more accurate the larger the subgroup they apply to. As the relevant subgroup becomes smaller, random variation due to sampling increases. Therefore the numbers of the unemployed in different age groups or in different areas are not as reliable as the number of all the unemployed.
 

Timeliness

The results of the Labour Force Survey are released monthly, quarterly and annually. Monthly data are released approximately three weeks from the end of the survey month. Quarterly data are released simultaneously with the last monthly data of each quarter. The most detailed data are released in the annual statistics approximately four months from the end of the survey year.

Punctuality

There are no delays between the release calendar and the actual release date.

Data revision

The Labour Force Survey data are completed with a fast schedule and the published figures are final. Correcting of the figures published once has been very rare.

Sampling error

The reliability of the estimate caused by sampling is assessed by calculating the standard error or coefficient of variation of the used estimator. Standard error (the square root of the sample variance) describes how neatly the value of the parameter estimated from the observations is concentrated around the parameter of the population. The magnitude of the standard error is affected by sample design, the number of observations in the relevant population or subgroup, variation in the characteristic being examined, i.e. the variance of the variable.
Standard error can be used to calculate the margin of error or the confidence interval, at which the sought value of the population is located at a certain probability (often 95% confidence interval), and the relative standard error. Confidence interval describes the width of the range in which the real value of the parameter is relative to the estimate calculated from the sample. When calculating the confidence interval, the desired level of risk is fixed. The five per cent risk level applied in the Labour Force Survey means that if the samples were drawn again, in 95 cases out of one hundred the real value of the parameter would be within the confidence interval and in five cases out of one hundred it would be outside the confidence interval.
The 95 per cent confidence interval used in the Labour Force Survey is the interval within which the real value of the characteristic being investigated lies with 95 per cent probability. For instance, if the estimate for the number of unemployed persons in a certain month is 230,000 and its standard error is 7,700, the 95 per cent confidence interval of the number of the unemployed is 230,000 ± 15,100, i.e. 214,900 to 245,100 persons. The share to be added to the estimate or deducted from it is obtained by multiplying the estimate’s standard error with the 1.96 coefficient of the 95 per cent confidence interval. This share describes uncertainty caused by sampling and is called the estimate’s margin of error.
Relative standard error (variation coefficient) is the percentage share of the standard error of the estimate. Proportioning the standard error to the estimate’s size removes the effect of the scale of the variable. Hence the values of the relative standard error of different variables and the values of the standard error of the same variable in different subgroups are easy to compare with one another.
Examples of the accuracy of monthly estimates for the number of  the employed or the unemployed of different sizes:
  Monthly estimate Monthly estimate's
margins of error
(95% confidence interval)
Standard error   Relative
standard
  Persons Persons Persons %
Employed 2 400 000 ± 27 800 14 200 0.6
  1 200 000 ± 21 000 10 700 0.9
  600 000 ± 15 300 7 800 1.3
  300 000 ± 11 600 5 900 2.0
  100 000 ± 6 700 3 400 3.4
  50 000 ± 4 700 2 400 4.8
  10 000 ± 2 900 1 500 15.9
Unemployed 230 000 ± 15 100 7 700 3.3
  120 000 ± 11 800 6 000 5.0
  90 000 ± 10 800 5 500 6.1
  60 000 ± 9 000 4 600 7.7
  30 000 ± 6 900 3 500 11.7
  20 000 ± 5 100 2 600 13.0
  10 000 ± 3 700 1 900 19.0

 

Non-response error

Responses are not obtained from all persons selected to the sample, as some persons can never be reached and many refuse to respond to the survey. This is called non-response. Non-response has become more common in recent years.  Estimation is based only on the respondents, who are fewer because of non-response. This increases the margin of error and widens confidence intervals. Efforts are made to take non-response into account in estimation, for example, with reweighting methods by means of a calibration estimator. The table presents data on the Labour Force Survey sample and non-response.
Labour Force Survey sample and non-response, persons aged 15 to 74 years
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
   Sample size 147365 147495 147384 147183 147304 147548
      Overcoverage 2272 2061 1994 1827 1759 1570
      Overcoverage rate, % 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.2 1.2 1.1
Sample excluding overcoverage   145093 145434 145390 145356 145545 145978
      Response 100940 97881 95301 91086 86247 75942
      Non-response 44153 47553 50087 54270 59298 69541
          Refusals 26241 27408 29256 29994 29044 33888
          Non-contacts  17511 19719 20289 23708 29881 34948
          Other reasons 401 426 542 568 373 670
     Response rate, % 68.5 66.4 64.7 61.9 58.6 51.5
     Non-response rate , % 30.0 32.7 34.5 37.3 40.7 47.6

Processing error

Examples of possible errors in statistical releases include erroneous figures in release texts, figures or tables, or use of incorrect concepts. Unlike revisions, error situations are unexpected deviations in the normal production of statistics.

Errors are corrected and the users are informed about them as quickly as possible. Statistics Finland informs about significant errors to the same extent and through the same channels as in the releasing of the original data.

Notations about corrections and their points of time are added to the corrected releases. If possible, the original, erroneous data are also left visible.

Typographical and other form errors in statistics are corrected as fast and flexibly as possible and no separate notifications are made of them on the web pages.

Information about changes made to statistical databases is posted on the Revisions in the database page. Only the latest data are updated in databases.
Deviations from timetables are also regarded as errors. If the release of statistical data is significantly delayed from the announced point of time, information about the delay is posted on Statistics Finland's home page.

Comparability

Coherence and comparability

There are comparable time series of the key Labour Force Survey data for the years 1989 to 2020. At the beginning of 2021, the data content, data collection and estimation method of the Labour Force Survey are revised, for which reason the time series are corrected retrospectively until the year 2009.

Comparability - geographical

The present data content of the Labour Force Survey is based on the European Union's Regulation on social statistics (1700/2019) and on Implementing Regulations 2019/2181, 2019/2240 and 2019/2241 concerning the labour force domain, on Delegated Regulation 2020/256 and on Delegated Regulation 2020/257. 
A detailed description of the EU Labour Force Survey is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Labour_market_and_Labour_force_survey_(LFS)_statistics.
The concepts and definitions used in the survey comply with the recommendations of the ILO, the International Labour Organization of the UN, and the regulations of the European Union on official statistics, so the data of the statistics are internationally comparable and cover the whole of Finland.

Comparability - over time

A monthly Labour Force Survey, initially called Labour Force Inquiry, has been conducted since 1959. During this time the data content, data collection methods and methodology have been revised on several occasions. A comparable time series of the key data exists since 1989.

Initially, the inquiry with a somewhat limited data content was conducted as a postal survey. In 1976, the data content was expanded and the methodology modernised. During 1977 to 1993, the survey consisted of a monthly inquiry and supplementary annual interviews conducted over the telephone. The data collection of the monthly inquiry was changed in 1983 from a postal survey to telephone interviews, as a result of which non-response dropped from 30 to 4 per cent.

When Finland joined the European Union, the Labour Force Survey was harmonised with the EU Labour Force Survey. At the beginning in the years 1995 to 1998, the data for the EU Labour Force Survey were collected as a separate interview survey in March to May. The monthly survey was gradually revised to correspond to the EU Labour Force Survey. The contents of the monthly survey were extended, the data collection was changed into computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) and the concepts and definitions were harmonised to correspond better than before to the EU and ILO guidelines and recommendations. The definition of an unemployed person was revised in May 1998 and the published time series were retrospectively revised to correspond with the new definitions starting from 1989.

In early 1997, the activeness of job seeking was interpreted more broadly than in the EU's and ILO's recommendations when it was a question of job seeking through the employment office.  During 1 January to 30 April 1997, active job seeking was accepted for job searches through the employment office during six months. The frequency was then tightened to three months (from 1 May to 30 April 1998). On 1 May 1998, the strict EU and ILO four-week criteria started to be applied to job searches by all methods of job seeking.

In April 1999 the Labour Force Survey’s data content was widened again with the combining of the monthly survey and the EU Labour Force Survey into a single, continuous Labour Force Survey. Since 1999 a harmonised EU ad hoc survey with annually changing topics has been conducted in connection with the Labour Force Survey. From the beginning of 2000, continuous data collection was started, in which all weeks of the year are survey weeks. Previously, the data for each month were collected for one survey week, usually the middle week of the month. This changeover affected data on working days and hours worked, which are not fully comparable with earlier data starting from the beginning of the year 2000. According to a study conducted at Statistics Finland, the effects on the figures describing the number of employed persons were small (Labour force Statistics 2000). Starting from 2003, the data content of the survey was extended with a household module collected from a subsample, which produces data on the structure of households and the activities of all household members relative to the labour market. A new data collection questionnaire was introduced in 2008. In consequence of this the data content of the survey became slightly revised and collection of some of the data was started from a subsample, whose data are only used as annual data. The definitions of some concepts also changed. The revisions were based on the on EU regulations and their aim was to improve the comparability of the Labour Force Surveys of different EU Member States.

At the beginning of 2021, the data content, data collection and estimation method of the Labour Force Survey were revised. The content of the questionnaire was harmonised more closely than before between different EU countries to improve the comparability of the data. The data content also extended when new questions were added to the questionnaire. The most important changes related to questions about working hours and when a person is defined as employed. In future, for example, persons on parental leave who receive earnings-related support are classified as employed regardless of the length of absence.
In addition, persons aged 75 to 89 were included in the survey as a new age group. The sample size of this age group is small and therefore data on the age group are not published on the monthly and quarterly levels. The monthly and quarterly Labour Force Survey data still concern the 15 to 74 age group.
The data collection method of the survey was renewed by offering the respondents the possibility to respond not only with telephone and face-to-face interviews but also with a web questionnaire.
The new EU legislation, increased non-response and changes to the data collection method were taken into account in the formation of the sample and the calculation method of the results. The time series for the years 2009 to 2020 were retrospectively revised to correspond with the new estimation method.
 

Coherence - cross domain

In addition to the Labour Force Survey Statistics Finland’s statistics related to the labour market include the Job Vacancy Survey, the Quality of Work Life Survey, statistics on labour disputes, statistics on accidents at work as well as employment statistics. Of these the employment statistics provide data on the labour market activities of the population. The data in them differ from those of the Labour Force Survey due to the data collection method and the definitions of the employed and the unemployed. The employment statistics are based on total data derived from the administrative data of different authorities. Employment statistics data on a person’s activities mainly describe the last week of the year. Employment statistics data on unemployment are based on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment's register of unemployed job seekers. The statistics take good 18 months to complete, preliminary data are ready within about a year. Since the employment statistics represent total data, they offer better regional data (incl. data by municipality) as well as better data on small population groups, e.g. small industries and occupations, than the Labour Force Survey. The concepts of the employment statistics based on administrative registers are not internationally comparable.

The results of the Finnish Labour Force Survey published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, differ from those published in Finland in that conscripts are not included in the Eurostat data. In most EU countries conscripts are not included in the target group of the Labour Force Survey, i.e. the population living in private households. This causes differences especially in the results concerning the 15 to 24 age group. In the figures published by Finland persons performing their conscript duty are included in the population outside the labour force. In some cases differences can arise from the fact that Eurostat’s figures include the whole population living in private household whereas in Finland the figures only include those between the ages of 15 and 89.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment also publishes data on unemployed job seekers. The Ministry’s data derive from register-based Employment Service Statistics, which describe the last working day of the month. The definition of unemployed applied in the Employment Service Statistics is based on legislation and administrative orders which make the statistical data internationally incomparable. In the Employment Service Statistics an unemployed person is not expected to seek work as actively as in the Labour Force Survey. There are also differences in the acceptance of students as unemployed. More detailed information about differences between the statistics is available here.

Coherence -national accounts

Statistics Finland uses the Labour Force Survey data in the compiling of national accounts. This is among the reasons why the definitions of the key concepts in the Labour Force Survey, such as population, employment and working hours, follow as closely as possible the recommendations for national accounts (the UN System of National Accounts, SNA, and the European System of Accounts, ESA). The Labour Force Survey definition of the public sector is somewhat different from the classification of sectors in national accounts. In national accounts, conscripts are classified as employed according to ILO recommendations, whereas in the Labour Force Survey conscripts are outside the labour force.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The statistics are based on sample data collected monthly. The monthly sample consists of some 12,500 persons and the data are collected with computer-assisted telephone interviews and partly with face-to-face interviews and from 2021 onwards with a web questionnaire. One respondent is interviewed altogether five times.

Data collection

The Labour Force Survey data are collected with computer-assisted telephone interviews conducted by Statistics Finland's interviewers and partly by face-to-face interviews and from 2021 onwards with a web questionnaire. According to the interviewee's choice, either Finnish, Swedish or English is used as the language of the questionnaire (starting from the statistical reference year 2014).
The data of the Labour Force Survey are as a rule asked from the respondent.
If the respondent cannot be interviewed, the interview data are asked from the so-called proxy. A proxy can be the respondent's spouse/cohabiting partner, parent and child aged 15 or over or a sister/brother. They must live in the same household as the respondent.

A continuous survey week is used in the Labour Force Survey data collection. This means that the interviews are divided evenly across all weeks of the year. The questions of the questionnaire of the Labour Force Survey mainly concern a certain survey week. In some of the questions, the last four weeks are used as the reference period. The questions on the questionnaire are used to chart the respondent's activity during the survey week. The respondent's labour market status is determined on the basis of several different questions.

The survey is a panel survey in which one person is interviewed five times. The interviews are conducted every three months, apart from the fourth interview, which is conducted six months after the third interview. The first and last interviews are 15 months apart. The sample for one survey month consists of five rotation groups which have entered the survey at different points of time. The sample changes gradually so that different persons answer the questions during three consecutive months. In consecutive quarters three-fifths of the respondents are the same. In consecutive years the overlap is two-fifths. The data are collected from all weeks of the year.

In most European countries the Labour Force Survey data are collected from a sample of households, which means that all members of a household living at the same address are interviewed at the same time. Besides Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland are the only other countries where the sample is based on individual persons, i.e. only the target persons drawn into the sample are interviewed. However, the EU regulation also requires data concerning households and in Finland this has been solved by exploiting the panel nature of the Labour Force Survey.
The duration of responding both for the web form and on the telephone is three to five minutes, on average. In 2021, around 76,000 persons were interviewed for the Labour Force Survey. The response rate of this survey was 52 per cent, on average.

Frequency of data collection

The statistics of the Labour Force Survey are based on continuous data collection, where all weeks of the year are survey weeks.

Methods

Data compilation

In the survey, all respondents receive a weighting coefficient which is used to make the respondents as representative of the population of the survey as possible. The weighting coefficient includes for each respondent information on the sampling design used and the method for correcting non-response based on additional information. The raising effect of the weighting coefficient makes it possible to examine the results at the level of the population. Then the weighting coefficient can be interpreted so that the person who responds to the survey represents the number of persons in the population indicated by their weight.
The weighting progresses through basic weighting to reweighting. The basic weighting is the starting point for reweighting and it takes into account the sampling design of the survey and the stratification used in it, as well as the number of respondents by stratum. The reweighting method uses calibration of weights, where the basic weights are improved by utilising the latest available population data and additional information available from other register sources. Population data are gender, age, region and language. Other additional information is obtained from the Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees, and the Tax Administration's Incomes Register. Calibration weights are formed with CALMAR2 software operating in SAS environment developed in France.
Like all figures collected with a sample survey, the figures of the Labour Force Survey are so called estimates. An estimate is an estimation of an unknown quality of the population derived by applying a mathematical procedure (estimation) to sample observations. For example, the number of the unemployed published in a certain month is a monthly estimate of the number of unemployed persons obtained by such a procedure.
Starting from 2021, a quarterly weight is used in the calculation of quarterly estimates, which is calculated by scaling the monthly weight of each month of the quarter in question to the average population of the quarter and by proportioning it to the number of survey weeks in the month. Annual estimates are averages of quarterly estimates. 
Before 2021 quarterly and annual results are averages of monthly results, i.e. they describe the situation on an "average" week during the survey period.
Working days and hours worked are estimated basing on the number of calendar days in the month concerned. Quarterly and annual estimates of working days and hours worked are sums of monthly estimates.

The accuracy of estimates is evaluated on the basis of their standard error. Standard error (the square root of the sample variance) describes how neatly the value of the parameter estimated from the observations is concentrated around the parameter of the population. The magnitude of the standard error is affected by sample design, the number of observations in the relevant population or subgroup, variation due to the distribution of the research variable as well as properties of the mathematical formula.

Data validation

The response data and also the final data are checked in connection with the compilation and reporting. Most of the checks in the response data are programmed on the Blaise application questionnaire. The program includes checks on the values allowed for response data and logic checks. 
Missing or erroneous data by industry, occupation and employer sector are classified in the processing stage by using other response and register data. Data on hours worked that remain unknown are also imputed.
The quality of the statistical data to be published is verified by non-response reviews, comparisons with the data of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the results of the corresponding period in the previous year. In addition, Eurostat validates and checks the data received quarterly in detail.

Seasonal adjustment

In addition to the original series, we also publish from the Labour Force Survey seasonally adjusted series, from which seasonal variation that occurs in similar ways from one year to the next has been removed, as well as so-called trends from which irregular random variation has also been removed in addition to seasonal variation. The direction of long-term developments and cyclical variations are easier to see from a trend than from unadjusted monthly data.

As from June 2007, the trend components of the time series have been calculated with the Tramo/Seats method recommended by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. Due to the method used, the last data of the trend become slightly revised when the data of the following month are inserted into the time series. When using seasonally adjusted series and trend series it should be noted that in the Tramo/Seats method the latest months are partly based on model-based forecasts, so particular caution must be used in conclusions made based on them. Further information about the trend and limitations in its use can be found in Finnish at: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/men.html

Eurostat monthly publishes seasonally adjusted series for EU countries and trend figures for some countries, including Finland (Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland and Austria). The trend figures of Eurostat and Statistics Finland, e.g. employment rates, differ from one another due to different methods.

Documentation on methodology

The methodological descriptions of the Labour Force Survey can be found on the home page of the statistics.
 

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Social Statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation 

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

Labour Force Survey data are not released outside Statistics Finland in identifiable form (Statistics Act 280/2004, Personal Data Act 523/1999). Data can be released only on the basis of a separate application for licence to use statistical data and without identifiers for scientific research and statistical surveys. Data adjusted for the EU Labour Force Survey are delivered to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union without identifiers. The Labour Force Survey data are protected according to the protection class defined in Statistics Finland’s data protection guidelines.
The data protection description is available at:  http://www.stat.fi/meta/tietosuojaselosteet/tietosuojaseloste_tyovoimatutkimus_en.html.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

Monthly Labour Force Survey data are delivered to Eurostat before the publication date and quarterly data are supplied at a lag of around three months from the end of the last month of the quarter in question. Eurostat publishes the data on its web pages.
Statistics Finland uses the quarterly Labour Force Survey data in the compiling of national accounts.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

The results of the Labour Force Survey are published in the Labour market series of Official Statistics of Finland. The key monthly and quarterly results are released on predefined days on the Internet on the home page of the Labour Force Survey: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/index_en.html. The links on the home page lead to a description of the statistics, concepts and definitions as well as the free of charge tables from the statistical databases (StatFin) of the Labour Force Survey. Data are also available over the Internet from Statistics Finland's chargeable time series database (ASTIKA). Eurostat publishes quarterly and annual Labour Force Survey data on its website.

Micro-data access

Labour Force Survey data are not released outside Statistics Finland in identifiable form (Statistics Act 280/2004, Personal Data Act 523/1999). The response data are only used for statistical purposes. Data can be released only on the basis of a separate application for licence to use statistical data and without identifiers for scientific research and statistical surveys.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Seasonally adjusted data in statistics on economic trends become revised because of the calculation method used. Additional information on a new time series observation is exploited in model-based calculation methods and this is reflected as changes in previous releases. Revisions of the latest figures to be seasonally adjusted are elaborated on in the releases and quality reports of statistics.

A summary table of the revisions that have taken place is also published in connection with key statistics on economic trends and some annual statistics. The table shows how the data for the statistical reference periods have changed between the first and the most recent statistical release.

User needs

The monthly and quarterly results of the Labour Force Survey describe the seasonal and trend variation of employment. The Labour Force Survey time series describe long-term changes in the labour market. Annual averages describe the labour force, that is, the employed and the unemployed, and the inactive population grouped by industry, occupation, education, age, gender and area.

The results of the survey are used in preparing labour market projections and plans, as support for decision-making, and in the monitoring of the effects of different measures on employment. Key users of the results are ministries, authorities responsible for regional planning, employers’ and employees’ organisations, universities and research institutions, international organisations and the European Union. At Statistics Finland, the data are used in, for instance, calculations of national accounts. The Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, steers the contents of the survey and monitors its quality. Eurostat produces structural indicators and other statistics from the quarterly data that are submitted to it.
 

Quality assessment

The quality of the Labour Force Survey is evaluated in several different stages of the statistical process.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Every year Statistics Finland conducts statistical auditing that helps to ensure the quality of statistics. The Labour Force Survey's auditing was carried out in October to November 2011.

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Revisions in statistics

Statistical experts

Pertti Taskinen
Senior Statistician
029 551 2690

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