Labor Market Information: Household Labor Force Surveys




This seminar is designed for economists, statisticians, researchers, analysts, and managers working with labor market information in national statistical programs. Participants should have an elementary knowledge of statistics and some experience in analyzing labor or social data.


To develop participants' capability to produce and analyze labor market information collected from households by:

  • Defining labor market information
  • Presenting methodologies for designing and conducting household labor force surveys
  • Developing skills in analyzing data on the characteristics of the labor force

Program content

Labor market information is essential for tracking and analyzing the economy of a country. National and local governments need labor market information to reduce unemployment, generate employment, or plan training programs to meet the needs of industry. It is also used in determining future workforce training needs, identifying the availability of labor, ascertaining prevailing wage rates, and exploring potential markets. Labor market information is valuable to local and regional planning agencies as well as industries and businesses looking for site locations, seeking ways of attracting and retaining skilled workers, or assessing the scope and size of potential markets. Labor unions finds this information useful for determining comparable wage and compensation levels, local working conditions, and training needs. Investors, educators, workers, and job seekers also benefit from timely and reliable labor market information to help them make sound decisions.

This seminar will show participants how to develop labor market information using data collected from households. "Household" data pertain to individuals and relate to where they reside. Household labor force surveys allow for the collection of comprehensive demographic data on the labor force such as age, sex, race, family relationship, marital status, occupation, and industry attachment. Household labor force surveys can also provide important information about members of the population who are not in the labor force.

Participants are encouraged to bring with them the following materials for use in discussions and workshops: 1) methodologies on how data related to the seminar topic are collected in their home countries; 2) questionnaires used in their countries for obtaining those data; and 3) sample publications of those data.

The seminar includes discussions on the following topics:

Introduction to labor markets

  • What they are and how they are defined
  • Reasons for conducting labor force surveys

Understanding components of the population

  • Who is in the labor force? Who is not in the labor force?
  • Employment status: Who is employed? Who is unemployed?
  • Employment to population ratio
  • Labor force participation rate
  • Unemployment rate

Designing and conducting household labor force surveys

  • Concepts and definitions
  • Survey design
  • Questionnaire design
  • Sampling
  • Data collection
  • Weighting
  • Data validation
  • Estimation procedures
  • Data processing and tabulation

Data analysis and dissemination

  • Analysis by sector, industry, and occupation
  • Analysis by demographic characteristics of the labor force
  • Studying subgroups of the population or focusing on particular topics
  • Graphical analysis and presentation of data

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Last modified: February 9, 2017