Labour Force Survey (LFS) Pilot Study Programme


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) Pilot programme is the latest initiative of the ILO to support the implementation of the international standards on statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization recently adopted by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Launched in 2015, the programme promotes collaboration between the ILO Department of Statistics and National Statistical Offices to conduct research in survey design with the main aim to:
  • Develop guidance for countries on how best to align their national labour force surveys with the new international standards.
  • Promote the sharing of good practice in labour force survey methodology among countries around the world.
  • Foster greater comparability in labour market statistics across countries.
An indirect aim of the programme is raising awareness of the standards both among National Statistical Offices and key data users. This awareness will be critical to build support for countries to undertake the work to implement the standards.

During the first phase of the programme, the ILO LFS team has partnered with the National Statistical Offices of 10 countries from different regions of the world, to implement small-scale pilot studies focusing on the measurement of employment, labour underutilization and participation in own-use production work according to the new ICLS standards.

Why it matters

Labour force statistics are an essential tool to inform a wide range of national economic and social policies. To improve the scope and relevance of these statistics to inform emerging policy priorities, in 2013 new recommendations were adopted by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians. These recommendations seek to expand national systems of work and labour force statistics so as to:
  • Fully capture women and men’s participation in all forms of work, paid and unpaid, including assessing differences in their access to full and productive employment as well as in providing unpaid services for the household.
  • Provide a more comprehensive measurement of participation in subsistence activities, particularly in agriculture and fishing for own final use, which remain poorly accounted for in official statistics.
  • Capture problems of underutilization including discouragement affecting in particular youth and persons living in rural areas.
  • Improve the overall statistical base of countries to support a more targeted monitoring of participation and access to labour markets related to the creation of more and decent jobs as well as the reduction of inequality and social exclusion through different forms of work.
The ILO pilot study programme aims to develop evidence-based guidance for countries on how to align their labour force surveys (LFS) with the new international statistical standards, taking into account their socioeconomic context and existing LFS practice.
  1. Background

    Learn more about the newly adopted Resolution on statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization.

  2. Methodology

    Learn more about the programme objectives and methodology.

  3. Partners & activities

    Learn more about the programme objectives, partners and activities.

  4. Publications, tools & materials

    Learn about the main findings, access the materials and tools developed by the programme.