Labour Force Survey

Description of the data collection

The Labour Force Survey is an inquiry that is used in compiling official statistics describing employment and unemployment. For example, Finland's official employment and unemployment rates are based on it. The Labour Force Survey is based on EU Regulations and it complies with the concepts and definitions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Labour Force Survey questions concern work for which pay or entrepreneurial income is received, working hours, job seeking and ways of job seeking. There are also questions about education. Some of the respondents are also asked additional questions with a yearly changing topic. The topics have included accidents at work and work-related health problems, transition from school to working life, length and patterns of working time, work capacity and employment, lifelong learning, reconciliation between work and family life, and transition from work into retirement.

The data are collected with a web survey and by telephone, and the same respondent is interviewed five times in all during one and a half years. Responding takes five to ten minutes, on average, both with the web form and by telephone.

During 2022, an additional survey on digital platform employment will be carried out in connection to the Labour Force Survey. The additional survey will be conducted in several EU countries at the request of Eurostat. Some of the questions concern everyone in the target population and some only those who have worked through Internet Platforms or Apps (for phones or tablets).

During 2022, an additional survey on Job Skills will be carried out in connection to the Labour Force Survey. The additional survey will be conducted in several EU countries at the request of Eurostat.

During 2022, part of wage and salary earners are asked about working conditions and well-being at work for the Working Life Barometer. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will process and publish the results of the Barometer. The data will also be released to the Finnish Social Science Data Archive operating in connection with the University of Tampere.

During 2022 Statistics Finland carries out an additional inquiry Citizens’ pulse for the respondents of the Labour Force Survey on assignment of the Government. The survey is answered online. The invitation is sent to the respondents by text message. More information:

From whom are data collected?

The monthly sample of 12,500 persons aged 15 to 89 is drawn randomly from Statistics Finland’s database on the population of Finland.
Provision of data for the Labour Force Survey is voluntary. However, it is of key importance to reply to the survey as it aims to provide as reliable as possible a picture of the labour market situation of the entire population. Each person selected to the survey represents persons in their age group living in their area in the survey and no one can be replaced with another respondent. However, the respondent may permit another person to respond on his or her behalf.
The survey concerns all population groups: employees, self-employed persons and persons who are not gainfully employed, such as pensioners, students, homemakers and unemployed.

What are the data used for?

The Labour Force Survey provides up-to-date information about the employment situation of Finns as a basis for research and social decision-making both in Finland and in the EU. Major users of the data also include the OECD and ILO, and several research institutes in Finland and abroad. The Labour Force Survey produces monthly, quarterly and annual data on employment, unemployment, different employment relationships, working hours and work input, for example.

The Labour Force Survey also examines the activity of persons in the inactive population, such as the number of young people without work, and education and training. In addition, the Labour Force Survey contains data reported annually on the employment of households.

The first data are published approximately three to four weeks from the reference period. A file complying with the relevant Regulation is also supplied quarterly to the EU, from which the EU compiles comparable statistics concerning its Member States.

The data from the data collection are used in the following statistics:

Data processing

The Statistics Act obliges Statistics Finland to treat the data as confidential and use them only for statistical and research purposes. The results will be published in the form of tables and graphs from which the answers of individual persons cannot be identified.


The data content and data collection method of the Labour Force Survey have been revised as from the beginning of 2021 to comply with the EU Regulation concerning the Labour Force Survey. In this connection the data content changed but the key concepts remained essentially the same.

From the beginning of 2021, the data collection became a mixed-mode collection, which also enables responding online.

How often are data collected?

Other regular