Effective LMIS draw on all major data sources. Each source has advantages and limitations in terms of the cost, quality and type of information gained.
Labour force surveys can be designed to cover the entire population of a country, all sectors of the economy and all categories of workers, including own-account workers, contributing family workers and persons engaged in casual work. For this reason, household-based labour force surveys offer a unique advantage to obtain information on the labour market of a country and its structure. Other sources, such as population censuses, multi-purpose household surveys, establishment surveys, or administrative records (e.g., employment service records), differ in scope, coverage, units of measurement or methods of data collection.
Meanwhile, establishment surveys typically have poor coverage of very small or unregistered businesses but are a more reliable source on wages and earnings. Similarly, administrative records provide a low-cost source of labour market information, but this information is limited by the purpose of the records, which may be different from that of an analyst or policy maker.