Title of statistical activity: Labour Force Survey (before IESS framework regulation) (until 2020)

Code of statistical activity: 40701

  1. Contact
  2. Metadata update
  3. Statistical presentation
  4. Unit of measure
  5. Reference period
  6. Institutional mandate
  7. Confidentiality
  8. Release policy
  9. Frequency of dissemination
  10. Accessibility and clarity
  11. Quality management
  12. Relevance
  13. Accuracy and reliability
  14. Timeliness and punctuality
  15. Coherence and comparability
  16. Cost and burden
  17. Data revision
  18. Statistical processing

1. Contact Individual or organisational contact points for the data or metadata, including information on how to reach the contact points.

1.1. Contact organisation The name of the organisation of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Statistics Estonia

1.2. Contact organisation unit An addressable subdivision of an organisation.

Population and Social Statistics Department

1.3. Contact name The name of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Eveli Voolens

1.4. Contact person function The area of technical responsibility of the contact, such as "methodology", "database management" or "dissemination".


1.5. Contact mail address The postal address of the contact points for the data or metadata.

51 Tatari Str, 10134 Tallinn, Estonia

1.6. Contact email address E-mail address of the contact points for the data or metadata.


1.7. Contact phone number The telephone number of the contact points for the data or metadata.

+372 625 9334

2. Metadata update The date on which the metadata element was inserted or modified in the database.

2.1. Metadata last certified Date of the latest certification provided by the domain manager to confirm that the metadata posted are still up-to-date, even if the content has not been amended.


2.2. Metadata last update Date of last update of the content of the metadata.


3. Statistical presentation

3.1. Data description Main characteristics of the data set described in an easily understandable manner, referring to the data and indicators disseminated.

Labour status of population aged 15–74 by sex, age group, ethnic nationality, place of residence, etc.

Employed persons by economic activity, sector of economy, occupation, employment status, full/part-time job, type of employer, etc.

Employees by economic activity, sector of economy, occupation, full/part-time job, type of employer, etc.

Unemployed persons by duration of unemployment, steps taken to find a job, status before unemployment, managing, etc.

Inactive persons by reason of inactivity, managing, etc.

Population aged 15–74 by educational level, knowledge of languages, participation in lifelong learning, etc.

3.2. Classification system Arrangement or division of objects into groups based on characteristics which the objects have in common.

Classification of Estonian administrative units and settlements (EHAK)

Estonian Classification of Economic Activities (EMTAK 2008) based on NACE Rev. 2

International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO 08)

International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011)

Classification of fields of education and training 2013

Classification of Ethnicities 2011

International Standard Codes for the Representation of the Names of Countries (ISO 3166)

Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages (ISO 639-2)

3.3. Sector coverage Main economic or other sectors covered by the statistics.


3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions Statistical characteristics of statistical observations.

Discouraged person – a person who would like to work and would be immediately available for work if there was work, but who is not an active job seeker because he or she has lost hope of finding a job.

Economically active population / labour force – persons who wish and are able to work (total of employed and unemployed persons).

Economically passive / inactive population – persons who do not wish or are not able to work.

Employed – a person who during the reference period

- worked and was paid as a wage earner, entrepreneur or a freelancer;

- worked without direct payment in a family enterprise or on his/her own farm;

- was temporarily absent from work.

Employment rate – the share of the employed in working-age population.

Household – a group of people who live in a common dwelling (at the same address) and share joint financial and/or food resources. Persons included in the household are members of the household. A household may also consist of one member only.

Labour force participation rate / activity rate – the share of the labour force (total number of the employed and unemployed) in working-age population.

Underemployed – a person who works part-time, but would like to work more and is available for additional work (within two weeks).

Unemployed – a person who fulfils the following three conditions:

- he or she is without work (does not work anywhere at the moment and is not temporarily absent from work);

- he or she is currently (within two weeks) available for work if there was work;

- he or she is actively seeking work.

Unemployment rate – the share of the unemployed in the labour force.

Working-age/labour-age population – the basis for examining the economic activity of the population (Labour Force Survey object) is the population between the ages of 15 and 74 in the reference week.

3.5. Statistical unit Entity for which information is sought and for which statistics are ultimately compiled.


3.6. Statistical population The total membership or population or "universe" of a defined class of people, objects or events.

Permanent residents of Estonia aged 15–74


A list of 15–74-year-old permanent residents of Estonia compiled based on the population and housing census (2011) and the Population Register

3.7. Reference area The country or geographic area to which the measured statistical phenomenon relates.

Estonia as a whole – quarterly data

Counties – main annual indicators

3.8. Time coverage The length of time for which data are available.


3.9. Base period The period of time used as the base of an index number, or to which a constant series refers.

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure The unit in which the data values are measured.

Number, percentage

Financial indicators – euro

5. Reference period The period of time or point in time to which the measured observation is intended to refer.




6. Institutional mandate

6.1. Legal acts and other agreements Legal acts or other formal or informal agreements that assign responsibility as well as the authority to an agency for the collection, processing, and dissemination of statistics.


Regulation (EU) No 545/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community Text with EEA relevance

Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1897/2000 of 7 September 2000 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community concerning the operational definition of unemployment

Regulation (EC) No 1991/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 October 2002 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2104/2002 of 28 November 2002 adapting Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1575/2000 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 as far as the list of education and training variables and their codification to be used for data transmission from 2003 onwards are concerned

Regulation (EC) No 2257/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2003 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community to adapt the list of survey characteristics

Commission Regulation (EC) No 377/2008 of 25 April 2008 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community as regards the codification to be used for data transmission from 2009 onwards, the use of a sub-sample for the collection of data on structural variables and the definition of the reference quarters

COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2016/1851 of 14 June 2016 adopting the programme of ad hoc modules, covering the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, for the labour force sample survey provided for by Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98


Not available


Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

International Labour Organization (ILO)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

7. Confidentiality A property of data indicating the extent to which their unauthorised disclosure could be prejudicial or harmful to the interest of the source or other relevant parties.

7.1. Confidentiality - policy Legislative measures or other formal procedures which prevent unauthorised disclosure of data that identify a person or economic entity either directly or indirectly.

The dissemination of data collected for the purpose of producing official statistics is guided by the requirements provided for in § 32, § 34, § 35, § 38 of the Official Statistics Act.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment Rules applied for treating the data set to ensure statistical confidentiality and prevent unauthorised disclosure.

The treatment of confidential data is regulated by the Procedure for Protection of Data Collected and Processed by Statistics Estonia: https://www.stat.ee/66485.

8. Release policy Rules for disseminating statistical data to interested parties.

8.1. Release calendar The schedule of statistical release dates.

Notifications about the dissemination of statistics are published in the release calendar, which is available on the website. Every year on 1 October, the release times of the statistical database, news releases, main indicators by IMF SDDS and publications for the following year are announced in the release calendar (in the case of publications – the release month).

8.2. Release calendar access Access to the release calendar information.


8.3. User access The policy for release of the data to users, the scope of dissemination (e.g. to the public, to selected users), how users are informed that the data are being released, and whether the policy determines the dissemination of statistical data to all users.

All users have been granted equal access to official statistics: dissemination dates of official statistics are announced in advance and no user category (incl. Eurostat, state authorities and mass media) is provided access to official statistics before other users. Official statistics are first published in the statistical database. If there is also a news release, it is published simultaneously with data in the statistical database. Official statistics are available on the website at 8:00 a.m. on the date announced in the release calendar.

9. Frequency of dissemination The time interval at which the statistics are disseminated over a given time period.




10. Accessibility and clarity

10.1. News release Regular or ad-hoc press releases linked to the data.

The news release “Employment and unemployment” once a quarter. The news release can be viewed on the website http//www.stat.ee/news-releases.

10.2. Publications Regular or ad-hoc publications in which the data are made available to the public.

Not published

10.3. Online database Information about on-line databases in which the disseminated data can be accessed.

Data are published in the statistical database at http://pub.stat.ee under the subject area “Social life / Labour market / Employed persons. Short term statistics” in the following tables:

TT473: Employed persons by sex and sector of economy (quarters)

TT477: Employed persons by status in employment (quarters)

TT478: Employed persons by full/part-time job in main job (quarters)

TT497: Employment rate by age group and region (quarters)

TT498: Employed persons by sector of economy and region (quarters)

TT4989: Employed persons by sex, region and occupational group (quarters),

under the subject area “Social life / Labour market / Inactive persons. Short term statistics” in the following tables:

TT452: Inactive persons aged 15-74 by reason of inactivity (quarters)

TT455: Inactive persons by age group and region (quarters),

under the subject area “Social life / Labour market / Employees. Short term statistics” in the following table:

TT474: Employees by sex and sector of economy (quarters),

under the subject area “Social life / Labour market / Unemployed persons. Short term statistics” in the following table:

TT441: Unemployed persons by duration of unemployment (quarters)

and under the subject area “Social life / Labour market / General data of labour market. Short term statistics” in the following tables:

TT461: Labour status of population aged 15-74 (quarters)

TT462: Labour status of population aged 15 and older by sex and age group (quarters)

TT463: Labour status of persons aged 15-74 by place of residence and sex (quarters)

TT464: Labour status of persons aged 15-74 by ethnic nationality and sex (quarters)

TT464: Labour status of persons aged 15-74 by ethnic nationality and sex (quarters)

TT468: Labour force participation rate by age group and region (quarters)

TT469: Labour status of population aged 15-69 (quarters)

TT54: Response rate in estonian labour force survey (quarters)

10.4. Microdata access Information on whether micro-data are also disseminated.

The dissemination of data collected for the purpose of producing official statistics is guided by the requirements provided for in § 33, § 34, § 35, § 36, § 38 of the Official Statistics Act. Access to microdata and anonymisation of microdata are regulated by Statistics Estonia’s procedure for dissemination of confidential data for scientific purposes: https://www.stat.ee/dokumendid/51669.

Public use data files are available free of charge to anybody interested in doing statistical analysis based on microdata:


10.5. Other References to the most important other data dissemination done.

Data serve as input for statistical activities 10106 “Environmental goods and services sector accounts”, 21408 “Supply and use tables”, 40416 “Employment and financial statistics of the cultural sector”, 40601 “Registered accidents at work”, 40611 “Integration of disabled persons”, 41001 “Social exclusion – Laeken indicators”, 50101 “Regional development”, 50201 “Sustainable development indicators”, 40716 “Main employment indicators”, 40717 “Employed persons”, 40718 “Unemployed persons”, 40719 “Economically inactive population” and 40720 “Employment indicators of the immigrant population”.

10.6. Documentation on methodology Descriptive text and references to methodological documents available.

EU LFS (European Union labour force survey)


Estonian Labour Force Survey. Methodology, Statistics Estonia (2012)


10.7. Quality documentation Documentation on procedures applied for quality management and quality assessment.

Data on the quality of the population, sample and respondents are published in the Statistical Database.

“Estonian Labour Force Survey. Methodology”



11. Quality management Systems and frameworks in place within an organisation to manage the quality of statistical products and processes.

11.1. Quality assurance All systematic activities implemented that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that the processes will fulfil the requirements for the statistical output.

To assure the quality of processes and products, Statistics Estonia applies the EFQM Excellence Model, the European Statistics Code of Practice and the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (ESS QAF). Statistics Estonia is also guided by the requirements in § 7. “Principles and quality criteria of producing official statistics” of the Official Statistics Act.

11.2. Quality assessment Overall assessment of data quality, based on standard quality criteria.

Statistics Estonia performs all statistical activities according to an international model (Generic Statistical Business Process Model – GSBPM). According to the GSBPM, the final phase of statistical activities is overall evaluation using information gathered in each phase or sub-process; this information can take many forms, including feedback from users, process metadata, system metrics and suggestions from employees. This information is used to prepare the evaluation report which outlines all the quality problems related to the specific statistical activity and serves as input for improvement actions.

12. Relevance The degree to which statistical information meet current and potential needs of the users.

12.1. User needs Description of users and their respective needs with respect to the statistical data.

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Ministry of Rural Affairs

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Social Affairs

Institute of International and Social Studies

University of Tartu

The survey serves as a basis for the analysis of changes in the labour market, which is used mainly by different ministries, universities and research organisations. At the European Union level, the data are used to make comparisons between member states.

Users’ suggestions and information about taking these into account are available on the website of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/statistikatood.

12.2. User satisfaction Measures to determine user satisfaction.

Since 1996, Statistics Estonia has conducted reputation and user satisfaction surveys.

All results are available on the website at https://www.stat.ee/user-surveys.

12.3. Completeness The extent to which all statistics that are needed are available.

The data are complete and correspond to the data composition requirements prescribed by the European Commission regulation on labour force survey statistics.

13. Accuracy and reliability Accuracy: closeness of computations or estimates to the exact or true values that the statistics were intended to measure.
Reliability: closeness of the initial estimated value to the subsequent estimated value.

13.1. Overall accuracy Assessment of accuracy, linked to a certain data set or domain, which is summarising the various components.

The accuracy of source data is monitored by assessing the methodological soundness of data sources and the adherence to the methodological recommendations.

The type of survey and the data collection methods ensure sufficient coverage and timeliness.

13.2. Sampling error That part of the difference between a population value and an estimate thereof, derived from a random sample, which is due to the fact that only a subset of the population is enumerated.

For main indicators of the labour force survey, the standard errors and relative standard errors are published in the Statistical Database.

13.3. Non-sampling error Error in survey estimates which cannot be attributed to sampling fluctuations.

Statistics Estonia aims to reduce the amount of non-sampling errors through continuous improvement of the methodology and the survey process, e.g. by adopting computer-assisted data collection which helps to prevent coding and typing errors. Information on response rates by group is available in the Statistical Database.

14. Timeliness and punctuality

14.1. Timeliness Length of time between data availability and the event or phenomenon they describe.

The monthly data (three months moving average) are published 60 days after the end of the reference month (T + 60).

The quarterly data are published 45 days after the end of the reference quarter (T + 45).

The annual average data are published 45 days after the end of the reference year (T + 45).

14.2. Punctuality Time lag between the actual delivery of the data and the target date when it should have been delivered.

The data have been published at the time announced in the release calendar.

15. Coherence and comparability

15.1. Comparability - geographical The extent to which statistics are comparable between geographical areas.

Data in Estonia are comparable by counties, regions and Tallinn. Data in Europe are comparable across countries. For example, data on unemployment and employment can be compared.

15.2. Comparability - over time The extent to which statistics are comparable or reconcilable over time.

Statistics Estonia conducted the first Labour Force Survey at the beginning of 1995 (ELFS 95). In 1997–1999, the survey was conducted in the 2nd quarter. Starting from the year 2000, the Labour Force Survey is a continuous survey providing quarterly and annual results.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain The extent to which statistics are reconcilable with those obtained through other data sources or statistical domains.

There are three data sources for measurement of unemployment in Estonia: the Estonian Labour Force Survey (ELFS) of Statistics Estonia, Eurostat’s harmonized unemployment statistics and Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund’s registered unemployment data. The methodology of data collection and publication frequency are different for these data sources. Read more from “Estonian Labour Force Survey. Methodology”, chapter 6.1. at https://www.stat.ee/methodology.

The auxiliary employment indicators for national accounts according to the European System of Accounts (ESA) definitions are also calculated on the basis of ELFS. When using the data of ELFS and national accounts, differences arising from definitions and concepts should be taken into consideration. Read more from chapter 6.2 of “Estonian Labour Force Survey. Methodology” (https://www.stat.ee/methodology).

15.4. Coherence - internal The extent to which statistics are consistent within a given data set.

The Estonian Labour Force Survey (LSF) 95 and LSF 97 survey week data are about persons who on 1 January of the survey year were 15–74 years old and data in the retrospective part have been collected from the same persons who in previous years were in other age groups. Hence, retrospective data on 1989–1996 were about those aged 15–69, to ensure comparability of data and presentation of population data by five-year age groups. From 1998 to the second quarter of 2000, also people aged 75 were interviewed in the labour force survey. Therefore, retrospective data on 1997–1999 cover 15–74 year-old people. All people over 74 years of age are regarded as inactive since 1997; for earlier years - people over 69. The expansion of the labour force survey data is based on the estimated population number as at 1 January of the survey year. The expansion factors are calculated by county, sex and 5-year age groups. Data published in the database on 1990–1999 have been amended using the adjusted population number in the years between the censuses of 1989 and 2000. Data on 2000–2013 have been corrected using the number of population recalculated on the basis of the 2011 census and registry data (see methodology for recalculating the population number at https://www.stat.ee/75541 (in Estonian) and methodology for recalculating the labour-force survey data at https://www.stat.ee/76254 (in Estonian)).

Due to rounding, the sums received by adding numbers in tables are not always equal with the total. The difference can be up to some last decimal places.

16. Cost and burden Cost associated with the collection and production of a statistical product and burden on respondents.

Cost of statistical activity 463.7 thousand euros (data for 2018)

17. Data revision Any change in a value of a statistic released to the public.

17.1. Data revision - policy Policy aimed at ensuring the transparency of disseminated data, whereby preliminary data are compiled that are later revised.

The data revision policy and notification of corrections are described in the dissemination policy of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/dissemination-policy.

17.2. Data revision - practice Information on the data revision practice.

Not applicable

18. Statistical processing

18.1. Source data Characteristics and components of the raw statistical data used for compiling statistical aggregates.


Total population is 990,000 persons aged 15–74. The sample includes 3,000 households (6,000 persons) per quarter. The sample design is stratified systematic sampling of individuals whose households are included into sample.

Stratification is made by place of residence. The 15 counties of Estonia and Tallinn are divided into four strata according to the population size (I – Tallinn, II – four bigger counties (Harju (without Tallinn), Ida-Viru, Pärnu, Tartu), III – ten smaller counties (Jõgeva, Järva, Lääne, Lääne-Viru, Põlva, Rapla, Saare, Valga, Viljandi, Võru), IV – Hiiu county).


Data on percentage of loss of capacity for work (20, 30, etc. up to 100) and on degree of disability (moderate, severe, profound) are received from the Estonian National Social Insurance Board.

Data on ongoing studies, if a person is studying in Estonia, are received from the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS).


Not used

18.2. Frequency of data collection Frequency with which the source data are collected.


18.3. Data collection Systematic process of gathering data for official statistics.

The data are collected from individuals. The method used for collecting the data is a personal interview (CAPI) and a telephone interview (CATI) in the case of households who have been interviewed before. The interviews are conducted by Statistics Estonia's interviewers with relevant training. The Survey Fieldwork Information System is used to manage and monitor data collection. The questionnaires have been designed to be filled in electronically by the interviewer. Information about the questionnaires and data submission is available on Statistics Estonia's website at https://www.stat.ee/11757.

The data are collected with the official statistical questionnaires “Labour Force Survey. Personal questionnaire” and “Labour Force Survey. Household questionnaire”.

The data of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board are received via an FTP-server.

18.4. Data validation Process of monitoring the results of data compilation and ensuring the quality of statistical results.

Arithmetic and qualitative controls are used in the validation process, including comparison with other data. Before data dissemination, the internal coherence of the data is checked.

18.5. Data compilation Operations performed on data to derive new information according to a given set of rules.

For non-response correction, individuals are divided into seven response homogeneity groups by place of residence (county and urban/rural) according to the non-response rate in the region. The weight of non-response of the individual is inversely proportional to the overall response rate in this group.

Before expanding data to the population the weights will be calibrated by sex and five-year age groups and county of residence of person. The basis of the calibration is the distribution of the population of Estonia by sex, age group and county on 1 January according to demographic data. After computing calibrated weights, the expansion factor is calculated for every respondent, which is the ratio of the total population to the number of interviewees per quarter. The final weight of the individual is calculated by multiplying the weight found earlier with the expansion factor.

18.6. Adjustment The set of procedures employed to modify statistical data to enable it to conform to national or international standards or to address data quality differences when compiling specific data sets.

Not applicable

19. Comments Supplementary descriptive text which can be attached to data or metadata.

Not available