Components leading to the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate
The unemployment rate for March 2023 stood at 2.9 per cent, declining by 0.1 percentage points from the same month last year and from the previous month (Table 1). In fact, the unemployment rate series remained stable at around 3 per cent over the past year.
During March 2023, the number of unemployed persons was 8,937, with the males and 25 to 74 age group being the major contributors to the overall level of unemployment. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed youths amounted to 2,635, whereas those aged between 25 and 74 years stood at 6,302 (Table 2).
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For March 2023, the unemployment rate for males stood at 3.0 per cent, decreasing by 0.1 percentage points when compared with the previous month. The rate for females stood at 2.8 per cent, dropping by 0.1 percentage points from February 2023 (Table 1).
The unemployment rate for persons aged 15 to 24 years (youth unemployment rate) was 9.2 per cent, while the rate for those aged between 25 and 74 years remained stable at 2.3 per cent (Table 1, Chart 2).
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1. The purpose of this release is to provide a detailed series of monthly unemployment estimates using harmonised definitions applied in the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The release contains both monthly unemployment rates and monthly unemployment levels.
2. The monthly unemployment rates are based on the definition recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The measurement is based on a harmonised source, the LFS, which is designed to satisfy the concepts and definitions as outlined by Eurostat, the EU’s Statistical Agency.
3. At a national level the NSO publishes labour market data generated from two different sources, namely the Labour Force Survey and administrative data from Jobsplus. Both sets of data are considered as official statistics; however one has to bear in mind that there may be differences between the sources owing to different definitions. While the count of employed and unemployed is based on persons registering for work, the LFS definition is based on the ILO criteria as explained in the methodological notes.
The LFS is a household survey which provides an insight into the labour market dynamics among private households. The survey is designed to satisfy the concepts and definitions as outlined by Eurostat and allows the comparability of results with other EU Member States and countries following ILO definitions of employment and unemployment.
When comparing unemployment levels between the two sources of data, one notes a variable gap between the two levels. This is mainly the result of different definitions. Unemployment in LFS includes all persons who do not have a job, are looking for a job and are ready to start working within two weeks of the reference period. This makes the LFS definition wider in scope when compared to that of Jobsplus.
Over the past years, there has been an increase in the number of unemployed who do not register with Jobsplus but who result to be unemployed when using the LFS criteria. In this regard, LFS unemployment levels encompass individuals who may not necessarily resort to Jobsplus to find a job.
Due to these reasons, one can observe that Jobsplus unemployment levels are highly determined by eligibility criteria and national policies addressing work. LFS levels are on the other hand, determined by the dynamics of the labour market. Consequently, there may be instances when trends may not be completely aligned.
The monthly unemployment rates are computed on the basis of a benchmarking model which combines monthly Jobsplus administrative data on employment and unemployment with quarterly LFS data. This computation produces the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) estimates, which are then seasonally adjusted (SA). The results in this release are all seasonally adjusted; however, non-seasonally adjusted data is showing in Table 3. The monthly figures produced differ from the quarterly LFS published data due to differences in the method of calculation.
● Employed persons: all persons aged 15 to 74 years who, during the reference week, were in one of the following categories:
(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.
˗ Males aged 15 to 24 years
˗ Males aged 25 to 74 years
˗ Females aged 15 to 24 years
˗ Females aged 25 to 74 years
● Inclusion of the most recent LFS data in the NSA calculation process
The monthly estimates are released at approximately 30 days from the reference month. Later, when the quarterly LFS estimates are produced (at approximately 90 days from the end of the quarter), the non-seasonally adjusted estimates of the three months are recalculated using a mathematical model based on the latest available data. The availability of new LFS results provides basis upon which projected monthly estimates can be updated with more robust results. The non-seasonally adjusted monthly estimates are then revised when data is published for the first month following the LFS reference quarter.
● Updates to the seasonally adjusted series whenever new monthly data are added
The monthly seasonally adjusted series are calculated every month using time series models with updates in ARIMA model parameters. Every month, the full time series data is seasonally adjusted using the new data point in the series. This explains why variations are noted in the seasonally adjusted data every month.
● Revisions in LFS data
Periodically, the monthly estimates will be subject to revision due to revisions in LFS data. Changes in LFS estimates are carried out intermittently to align the estimates with updated population figures.