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Changes in the methodology of the Estonian Labour Force Survey

Due to the requirements of the Integrated European Social Statistics (IESS) regulation, as of 2021, the Estonian Labour Force Survey is based on a new methodology. The main goal of the changes is to improve data quality. Statistics Estonia will publish the data of the 1st quarter of 2021, calculated according to the new methodology, in its database on 17 May.

The main changes are the following:

  1. The definitions of employment and unemployment have changed. This mainly concerns persons on child care leave.
  2. The age treshold of the survey changed: previously the survey involved 15–74-year-olds, now persons aged 15 and older.
  3. In order to improve the comparability of Estonian and Eurostat data, persons living in institutions are no longer included in the survey. Persons staying, for example, in prisons, hospitals, defence forces and other such institutions are excluded.
  4. The calculation of the weights used in the Estonian Labour Force Survey was updated.

Updated concepts

The study of the economic activity level of the population is based on the population aged 15–89 years during the survey week (previously persons aged 15–74). In 2021, the working-age and survey populations include people who:

  • were born in 1931 and whose birthday is after the end of the survey week, i.e. who were 89 years old during the survey week;
  • were born in 1932–2005;
  • were born in 2006 and whose birthday is before the survey week or during the survey week, i.e. who were 15 years old during the survey or turned 15 during the survey week.
     

Employed – a person who during the reference period:

  • worked at least one hour and was paid as a wage earner, entrepreneur or freelancer;
  • worked without direct payment in a family enterprise or on his/her own farm;
  • participated in work-related training;
  • was temporarily absent from work due to holidays, illness, pregnancy and maternity leave or work-related training;
  • was on child care leave and received or had the right to receive work-related income or (parental) benefits or was to remain on child care leave presumably for less than three months;
  • was temporarily absent from work for other reasons and the presumable leave period was less than three months;
  • was a seasonal worker outside the work season if he/she continued to regularly fulfil work-related tasks or responsibilities (excl. legal or administrative responsibilities);
  • produced agricultural products, of which the main share was meant for sale or exchange.
     

Unemployed – a person who fulfils the following three conditions:

  • is without work (does not work anywhere during the survey week and is not temporarily absent from work);
  • is currently (within two weeks) available for work if there was work;
  • is actively seeking work.
     

Actively seeking work refers to a situation where a person took any of the following steps:

  • posted a job search advertisement or responded to a job advertisement;
  • followed job advertisements;
  • uploaded one’s CV to the web or updated it;
  • contacted an employer directly;
  • turned to relatives/acquaintances to find work;
  • contacted the Unemployment Insurance Fund;
  • contacted an employment agency;
  • went to an interview with an employer, took a text or exam;
  • made preparations to start a business or set up a farm.
     

Inactive persons, or persons not included in the labour force, are those who belong to one of the following categories:

  1. persons aged under 15 (in full years, as at the end of the survey week);
  2. persons aged 89 and older (in full years, as at the end of the survey week);
  3. persons aged 15–89 (in full years, as at the end of the survey week) who were neither employed nor unemployed, based on the definitions of employment and unemployment given in the previous points.

Updated weighting methodology

The data collected with the Estonian Labour Force Survey are generalised to the whole population. As representation may vary in different groups, Statistics Estonia has made the survey methodology more precise and now also uses educational level in the calculation of weights. As a result, the education indicators obtained from the survey correspond to register-based data more than before.

As of 2021, the data are calibrated for the calculation of weights in the following breakdowns:

  • sex and age group (5-year groups);
  • county of the place of residence of household;
  • degree of urbanisation (urban or rural);
  • ethnic nationality (as of 2005) (estonians, non-estonians);
  • educational level (as of 2021) (three levels).
     

In addition, as of 2021, the data of the Labour Force Survey are weighted excluding persons living in institutions and in conscript service. The data of the Labour Force Survey for the 1st quarter of 2021 are published in the statistical database of Statistics Estonia on 17 May. Two new tables are added where some previously published indicators (starting from 2018) have been recalculated using the new methodology and weights.

  • TT0150: Employed persons in main job
  • TT0151: Main indicators of labour market
     

For more information contact the customer support of Statistics Estonia:

  • +372 625 9100 (Mon–Thu 8.30–16.30, Fri 8.30–15.30)
  • klienditugi [at] stat.ee
Labour force (persons aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Persons employed (aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Unemployed persons (aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Inactive persons (aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Total labour force and inactive persons (aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Labour force participation rate (persons aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Employment rate (persons aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021
Unemployment rate (persons aged 15–74) by quarter, 2018–2021