Labour Force Survey

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) conducted among private households for the purpose of gathering information about the labour force using internationally agreed concepts and definitions. Its main objective is that of dividing the 15+ year old population into three mutually exclusive groups, the employed, unemployed and inactive and, hence provides descriptive information on each of these groups.

Why is the survey being held?
To better understand the labour market and its characteristics;
To increase knowledge and awareness about the employed, the work-place and working conditions
To measure unemployment with concepts and definitions as outlined by Eurostat, which is the EU Statistical Agency.

How will the survey evolve?
The Labour Force Survey is an enquiry which is carried out using a random sample of 3,200 private households per quarter. The objective is to have a continuous assessment of labour market trends given that the reference weeks are evenly spread throughout the 13 weeks of every quarter.

Who participates in the Labour Force Survey?
The selection of participant households is conducted on a random basis out of all households in the Maltese Islands. All families are eligible for selection.

The LFS is a panel survey. The panel rotation is 2-(2)-2 with 800 households chosen to participate for the first time (first panel) whilst a further 800 households are respondents from the previous quarter (second panel). The third panel of 800 households are respondents from the previous year and the final fourth panel of 800 households are respondents from the previous year and previous quarter. Hence, a household participating for the first time in one quarter will be contacted for another three times.

How will the survey be conducted?
The NSO employs a number of interviewers who are trained to carry out the survey. NSO staff interviewers facilitating the survey can be identified by means of an Identity Card bearing the NSO logo. Additionally, all selected households are sent a letter which provides them with information on the enquiry and gives them details of the dates in which they will be approached by the NSO interviewer to carry out the survey. For the first panel the survey can either be carried out through personal visits or by telephone; though personal visits are preferred. However, in the subsequent panels most of the surveys are carried out by telephone.

What kind of information is being sought by the Survey?
The Survey includes demographic questions regarding all persons living in the household such as age, sex, marital status and education level. For those persons who are employed during the reference period, there are relevant questions on employment, such as place of work, occupation and number of hours worked. With regard to unemployed persons, questions are asked on the type of work they are after, how long they have been unemployed and methods of job search.

What conclusions emerge from the Labour Force Survey?
All the information gathered from the participant households is utilized solely for statistical purposes and is therefore regarded as highly confidential. In accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Authority Act (2000), no part of the information is passed on to any entity or individual. To this end, all those who will in any way be involved in this project are bound by an oath regarding confidentiality of data, as required by the Statistics Authority Act (2000).

The findings which emerge from the Survey are analysed. Information on the 15+ year old population is split into the three labour market groups, that is, the employed, unemployed and inactive. For the employed persons, estimates are produced on demographic characteristics, place of work, occupation, type of work and other related information. Additionally, unemployment estimates are produced by demographic characteristics, duration of unemployment and activity before searching for work. The above mentioned information is published in quarterly news releases. From time to time, ad hoc news releases are issued to analyse particular issues of the labour market such as work time arrangements and reconciliation between work and family life.

Questi​onnaire​​ | Metadata

Contact Information: 

Ms Joslyn Magro Cuschieri
Head of Unit​
2599 7662