News Releases

Labour Force Survey: Q1/2023
NR 104/2023
Release Date: 14 June 2023
Updated: 3 July 2023
During the first quarter of 2023, the Labour Force Survey estimates that total number of persons in employment was 291,756, 5.3 per cent higher when compared to the previous year.

Labour Status

Labour Force Survey estimates indicated that, during the first quarter, total employment stood at 291,756 accounting for 63.0 per cent of the population aged 15 and over. Unemployed persons stood at 8,585 (1.9 per cent) while inactive persons totalled 163,113 (35.2 per cent) (Table 1). The activity rate for the quarter under review was estimated at 80.4 per cent with the highest rate recorded among persons aged 25 to 54 (91.5 per cent) (Table 2).

The Employed Population

On average, out of every 100 persons aged between 15 and 64 years, 78 were employed. The male employment rate for this age bracket was 83.8 per cent while that for females stood at 71.4 per cent (Table 4). The largest share of employed persons was recorded among persons aged between 25 and 34 years, for both males and females (Chart 1).

Self-employed persons accounted for 15.0 per cent of all persons with a main job (Table 5). The majority of employed persons worked on a full-time basis and amounted to 256,592. A further 35,164 had a part-time job as their primary employment (Table 6). Results show that, on average, full-timers usually worked 40.6 hours while part-timers worked 21.5 hours per week. In the first quarter of 2023, employed persons actually worked 37.4 hours per week, 0.1 hours more when compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Table 7).

The average monthly basic salary of employees for the first quarter of 2023 was estimated at €1,848. The highest basic salary was recorded in the Financial and insurance activities sector (Table 10). Average monthly salaries varied from €1,189 among persons employed in elementary occupations to €2,995 among managers (Table 14).

Chart 1. Employment by age group and sex

No Data Found

The Unemployed and Inactive Population

The unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2023, stood at 2.9 per cent (Table 17). The largest share of unemployed persons was recorded among persons aged 25 to 74 years (Table 16). Females accounted for 58.3 per cent of total inactive persons and those over 65 years made up the highest share of the inactive (Table 19). The main reason for inactivity relates to persons reaching retirement age or taking up early retirement (42.4 per cent) (Table 20).

Education Attainment
More than 40 per cent of persons aged 15 years and over had attained a low level of education (41.5 per cent) (Table 21). By contrast, 35.0 per cent of the employed had a tertiary level education (Table 22).

Additional Tables and Charts

The online document was updated at 14:00hrs on 03.07.23, wherein Tables 4, 5, 8, 9, 13-22, which formerly presented data for the October-December period, were substituted with data relevant to January-March.

Methodological Notes

1. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is carried out on an ongoing basis using a quarterly gross sample of 3,200 private households. 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 the quarter. One-fourth of the sample is made up of households who have been selected to participate in the LFS for the first time. Three-fourths of the quarterly sample is made up of households who were selected to participate in the survey in previous instances, either one quarter before, or one year before, or one year and a quarter before (2-(2)-2). Unless otherwise indicated, figures provided in this release refer to persons aged 15 and over and living in private households during the reference period. All criteria used for this survey match international methodologies used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

2. The LFS is designed to satisfy the concepts and definitions as outlined by Eurostat, which is the EU Statistical Agency. This allows the comparability of results with other EU Member States and countries following ILO definitions of employment and unemployment. Occupations are classified according to the ISCO – 08 classification (International Standard Classification of Occupations), whereas the economic activity is classified according to NACE Rev. 2 (Nomenclature statistique des activités économiques dans la Communauté européenne). Educational attainment is classified according to ISCED 2011 (International Standard Classification of Education).

3. As from January 2021, Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/257 of 16th December 2019 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council by specifying the number and the title of the variables for the labour force domain, came into force.

4. This legislation has mainly led to changes in the LFS questionnaire and mode of data collection. An analysis of the impact of this change on LFS estimates was conducted in order to assess the divergence of LFS results from pre-IESS to post-IESS levels. Technical notes on these divergences are found here.

5. Definitions:

● Activity rate: labour force (15-64 years) as a percentage of the population of working age (15-64 years).

● Actual hours worked: refers to the number of hours actually spent at the place of work during the reference week for the main job. A person may work extra hours (e.g. overtime, variable hours) or work less hours than usual (e.g. vacation leave, education, sick leave or slack work) due to various reasons. Owing to increased flexibility at workplaces coupled with technology, the place of work may also include one’s home. In this regard, actual hours worked also includes the hours of work carried out by persons who telework.

● Average monthly basic salary: refers to the average monthly basic salary received by employees before any social contributions and tax deductions. This amount excludes payments for overtime, allowances and bonuses. The monthly basic salary takes into account the wage supplement scheme. As a result, persons who stated that they were receiving this supplement during the quarter under review had their monthly salary modified to account for this change in their income. Data for this variable is provisional and subject to revisions.

● Educational Attainment:

– secondary or less level of education: comprising persons with no schooling, primary education, schools for children with special needs and persons who attained a secondary level education and have less than 2 ordinary level qualifications or equivalent. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘low’ includes ISCED 0 to 2.

– post-secondary level of education: comprising persons with a secondary level education and having 2 ordinary level qualifications or equivalent or more, and persons with a post-secondary level attainment who have obtained at least 1 intermediate or advanced level qualification or equivalent. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘medium’ refers to ISCED 3 and 4.

– tertiary level of education: comprising persons with a tertiary level education and with qualifications ranging from diploma to doctorate level. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘high’ refers to ISCED 5 to 8.

● Employees: are defined as persons who work for a public or private employer and who receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, payment by results or payment in kind.

● Employed persons: comprise persons aged 15 to 89 who, during the reference week, were in one of the following categories:

– worked for at least 1 hour for pay or profit, including contributing family workers and paid casual work

– persons with a job or business who were temporarily not at work during the reference week but had an attachment to their job, including:

(a) persons not at work due to holidays, working time arrangements, sick leave, maternity or paternity leave;
(b) persons in job-related training or formal education;
(c) persons on parental leave, either receiving and/or being entitled to job-related income or benefits, or whose parental leave is expected to be 3 months or less;
(d) seasonal workers during the off-season, where they continue to regularly perform tasks and duties for the job or business, excluding fulfilment of legal or administrative obligations;
(e) persons temporarily not at work for other reasons where the expected duration of the absence is 3 months or less.

● Employment rate: persons in employment (15-64 years) as a percentage of the population of working age (15-64 years).

● Inactive persons: all persons who are not classified as employed or unemployed are defined as inactive.

● Labour force: all persons in employment and unemployed persons.

● Normal hours worked: refers to the number of usual hours worked per week in the main job over a long reference period, excluding weeks when an absence from work occurs (e.g. holidays, vacation leave or sick leave).

● Part-time employment: a part-time worker is an employed person whose normal hours are less than those of comparable full-time workers. Persons employed on a full-time with reduced hours basis are included in this category.

● Reference week: the week to which the collected data relate.

● Unemployed persons: all persons above 15 years of age who, during the reference week, satisfied the following criteria:

– without work

– actively seeking work during the previous 4 weeks: i.e. had either carried out activities in the four-week period ending with the reference week to seek paid employment or self-employment or found a job to start within a period of at most 3 months from the end of the reference week. Examples of active job search include contacting Jobslpus, studying job advertisements or placing or updating CVs online.

– currently available for work: i.e. available for paid employment or self-employment before the end of the 2 weeks following the reference week.

● Unemployment rate: unemployed persons (15-74 years) as a percentage of the labour force (15-74 years).

6. Sampling variability

Data included in this release are based on sample data and are therefore subject to sampling error. Sampling error is measured by a quantity known as the margin of error, which in turn, expresses the variability between the true population parameters and their corresponding sample estimates. In the table below, the margin of error is used to construct a set of 95 per cent confidence intervals for specific variables, which gives an indication of where the true population parameters lie.

Sampling variability of LFS figures
Estimate Margin of error 95% confidence interva
Employment291,756 3,805291,756 ± 3,805
Employment rate (%)
Total78.02 1.0378.02 ± 1.03
Males83.76 1.1783.76 ± 1.17
Females71.44 1.4871.44 ± 1.48
15-2447.42 3.7647.42 ± 3.76
25-5489.36 1.1689.36 ± 1.16
55-6454.52 3.5854.52 ± 3.58
Unemployment8,585 1,9898,585 ± 1,989
Unemployment rate (%)
Total2.87 0.662.87 ± 0.66
Males3.25 0.963.25 ± 0.96
Females2.35 0.902.35 ± 0.90
15-249.71 4.109.71 ± 4.10
25-742.22 0.622.22 ± 0.62
Inactivity163,113 3,826163,113 ± 3,826
Activity rate (%)
Total80.36 1.0280.36 ± 1.02
Males86.64 1.0886.64 ± 1.08
Females73.17 1.4473.17 ± 1.44
15-2452.52 3.6452.52 ± 3.64
25-5491.47 1.0791.47 ± 1.07
55-6455.62 3.5455.62 ± 3.54

The table above provides estimated measures of sampling variability. For example, with respect to employment the LFS estimate is 291,756 and the margin of error is 3,805. Hence, the actual figure in the population lies between 287,951 and 295,561 persons.


: Unreliable – less than 20 sample observations.

U Under represented – between 20 and 49 sample observations.

7. Percentage totals may not add up due to rounding.

8. Absolute changes between one survey estimate and another must be treated with caution since minor changes (i.e. less than 2,100 persons) might be the result of sampling error.

9. For more information please submit a request for information through the online form

10. More information relating to this news release may be accessed at:
Sources and Methods
Statistical Concepts 
ISCO Classification 
NACE Classification 
ISCED Classification 

11. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately.

12. Statistics in this news release should be interpreted in the context of the COVID-19 situation.

13. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

Labour Force Survey: Q1/2023
NR 104/2023
Release Date: 14 June 2023
Updated: 3 July 2023
  • The number of persons in employment was 291,756, 5.3 per cent higher when compared to 2022.
  • Unemployment was estimated at 8,585 while inactive persons totalled 163,113.
  • The employment rate for males aged between 15 to 64 years was 83.8 per cent while that for females stood at 71.4 per cent.
  • The majority of employed persons worked on a full-time basis and totalled 256,592 while 35,164 had a part-time job as their primary employment.
  • The average annual basic salary varied from €2,995 among managers to €1,189 among elementary occupations.
  • Among the employed population 35.0 per cent had a tertiary level of education.
  • The unemployment rate stood at 2.9 per cent.
  • The main reason for inactivity related to retirement amounting to 42.4 per cent.
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