Labour Force Survey (LFS) resources

The global reference for labour force survey design

National labour force surveys (LFS) are the main source behind essential headline indicators of the labour market and the world of work. A wide range of economic and social policies, from monetary and fiscal policies to employment, decent work, vocational education and training, and a wide range of poverty reduction and social inclusion policies depend on labour force surveys as their main source of statistics for informed decision-making and monitoring.

The ILO Department of Statistics, as part of its mandate, works to document and consolidate existing national LFS practice, and develop and test new methods to support the collection of work and labour market data, aligned with the latest international standards.

PAPI resources

Paper and pencil interviewing (PAPI) remains an important method of LFS data collection in many countries and regions around the world. Updating LFS questionnaires implemented through PAPI to incorporate the latest international standards in labour statistics can be an important challenge. The ILO model LFS for PAPI is designed using a modular approach to facilitate selection of topics relevant to the national context and simplified skip instructions to enable interviewers to manage a good quality interview flow using paper questionnaires.

The work-related modules are designed to produce core labour statistics aligned with the latest ICLS standards and good survey practice including:

  • The working age population by labour force status; employment, labour underutilization including unemployment, long-term unemployment, time-related underemployment, potential labour force;
  • Characteristics of the employed including multiple job holding, occupation, industry, institutional sector, status in employment, informal sector employment and informal employment, contract characteristics, job-related social protection; identification of groups of specific policy interest such as domestic workers, home-based workers, workers in triangular relationships; as well as new approaches to identify dependent contractors and other non-standard forms of employment;
  • Optional modules on work in agriculture or fishing, and own-use production of goods.
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Additional modules covering key background characteristics to generate indicators and disaggregations as needed to support monitoring of Decent Work, SDGs and other national and global goals, are also provided including: basic demographics, education, migration status and disability status, aligned with the latest international standards and survey practice on those topics.

PAPI LFS documentation

Approach 1Approach 2Approach 3
ILO model LFS questionnaire for PAPI - Demographic and background characteristics (v3, 2019)WordPDFforthcoming
ILO model LFS questionnaire for PAPI - Labour Modules (v3, 2019)WordPDF
National adaptation guide for ILO PAPI model LFS - Demographic and background characteristics (v3, 2019)WordPDF
National adaptation guide for ILO PAPI model LFS - Labour Modules (v3, 2019)WordPDF
Changes introduced in ILO PAPI model LFS (v3, 2019)PDF
Earlier Versions »

CAPI resources

Computer Assisted Interview methods are being increasingly used in survey implementation. Questionnaires implemented in this way can utilise in-built features to improve the flow of the questionnaire for the interviewer and respondent versus pen and paper questionnaires. This not only lowers respondent burden, but it also increases the ability to create more varied and wide-ranging questionnaires which is more difficult to manage through PAPI. Furthermore the ability to capture data electronically creates both data quality and efficiency gains given the possibility to implement improved real-time validations and the removal of the need for manual data entry. As such, CAPI and other computer assisted interviewing methods offer a wide range of benefits both for data quality but also in efficiency, flexibility and adaptability of surveys.

The ILO has launched an updated and expanded range of resources to support countries in LFS implementation. Users can now access the latest version of the ILO modular LFS questionnaire for CAPI (V3) and an innovative “Build your own LFS ” tool (beta version) that enables customization of the modular LFS content to reflect the national context.

This set of resources is a key part of the ILO’s strategy to develop a flexible modular LFS package to meet demands for support for measurement of a wide range of work and labour related topics through household surveys.

Build your own LFS - Programme builder (beta)

The easy-to-use “Build your own LFS” tool generates a CAPI application for CSPro which can be deployed for use on android devices. This beta version is being launched to support testing and as an illustration of the added functionality and user customization coming soon!

Future updates will include more advanced tools to support national adaptation of the model LFS questions, new modules covering related topics, additional administrative modules to handle sample management, interviewer workload assignment, field supervision, French and Spanish language versions, among many others.

CAPI LFS documentation​

Approach 1Approach 2Approach 3
ILO model LFS questionnaire for CAPI - Demographic and background characteristics (v3, 2019)WordPDFforthcoming
ILO model LFS questionnaire for CAPI - Labour Modules (v3, 2019)WordPDF
National adaptation guide for ILO CAPI model LFS - Demographic and background characteristics (v3, 2019)WordPDF
National adaptation guide for ILO CAPI model LFS - Labour Modules (v3, 2019)WordPDF
Changes introduced in ILO CAPI model LFS (v3, 2019)PDF
>>Earlier Versions