Sources & Methods


The aim of the Labour Cost Survey is to provide accurate, detailed and harmonised data on enterprises’ labour costs.  The survey relates to the labour costs incurred by the employer and asks for information such as employees’ wages and salaries, overtime, bonuses, allowances, fringe benefits and other labour costs incurred by the employer throughout the reference year.

The Labour Cost Survey is carried out in line with European Regulations (EC) No. 530/1999 and (EC) No. 1737/2005.

Methodological description of survey

The LCS is carried out once every four years and was carried out for the first time in 2004.  Data collection is carried out using email and ordinary mail whenever emails of enterprises are not available.

The target population of this survey comprises enterprises employing 10 or more persons and operating in NACE Sections B to S excluding Section O.  This implies that relatively all types of economic activities are included in the target group except for agriculture and fishing activities, and public administration-related enterprises, activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods and services-producing activities of households for own use and activities of extra territorial organisations and bodies(NACE A, O, T, U).

Sample selection is made using stratification by optimal allocation.  The NACE sections and employment groups are used in order to create the strata, and then a random sample of enterprises is chosen from each stratum.

Accuracy and reliability of data

Information on the accuracy and reliability of data can be viewed in a dedicated metadata report available on the NSO’s metadata website.

Timeliness and punctuality of data

At a national level, the ‘Labour cost survey’ news release is published on the NSO’s website as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar every four years.  

LCS data is submitted to Eurostat within a period of 18 months from the end of the reference year. 

Accessibility and clarity of data

The national LCS news release is available on the NSO’s website.

A quality report is compiled and sent to Eurostat every four years following data collection and a similar report is available on the NSO’s metadata website. 

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

National concepts applied for LCS are in line with European concepts since the definitions outlined in Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1737/2005 are applied.  In terms of the statistical units which are covered for LCS, data is collected from legal units which are recognized as having autonomous management and an independent accounts system.  At NUTS 1 level the whole country is represented therefore information could be collected from enterprises which are recognized to be legal units by the Business Register.

Comparability over the years may be affected by changes in classifications.  From reference year 2008 onwards the NACE Rev. 2 classification has been adopted.  Previously NACE Rev. 1.1 was used.

Coherence tests between National Accounts, Structural Business Statistics data, and Labour Force Survey estimates are carried out.  National Accounts information relates to all companies operating in the particular sectors whereas LCS data refers to companies that employ 10 or more employees.  Variations between National Accounts and Labour Cost Survey figures are the result of the micro business effect (under 10 effect) which is taken into account in the National Accounts averages but is missing in the LCS estimate.


Other Documents Date Format
Labour Cost Questionnaire 2020
Kalkulatur tal-Inflazzjoni Kalendarju tal-Istqarrijiet tal-Aħbarijiet Talbiet għat-Tagħrif Mistoqsijiet dwar il-Kodiċi tan-NACE
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