Data sources

An employment diagnostic commonly relies on data from a national labour force survey (LFS) as a basis for analysing labour market indicators along with economic and other indicators from other sources. These surveys provide the highest quality and most reliable data on the labour force as their sample population is selected randomly from a national respondent frame. LFS provides detailed employment related information such as workers’ employment status and sector and occupations at national, regional, local and rural/urban level. LFSs continue to be the main source of labour data that governments and researchers use to monitor the labour market.

Yet, to get a full perspective of the labour dynamics in a country, additional sources are needed to analyse socio-economic development and development potential in the country. Global databases from the World Bank and UN agencies provide a good basis for the analysis allowing international benchmarking and cross-country comparison of the statistics used. However, in many cases, data provided by national bureau of statistics and local sources are more granular and often more current, although the quality of data will need to be assessed on case-by-case basis.

ILO sources

ILO’s database, ILOSTAT, is the leading global source of labour force survey data. The ILO collects the underlying household survey datasets (mostly labour force surveys) compiled by national statistical offices around the world. There are currently more than 11,700 household survey datasets across 161 countries. ILO experts systematically process the datasets to generate harmonized indicators based on international statistical standards. The International Standards of Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) will provide a framework for a disaggregated analysis at the sectoral level, which informs the employment diagnostics and its operational conclusions.

External sources

Databases hosted by international agencies provide good quality data on the socio-economic situation in countries. Depending on the focus of the employment diagnostics, different sources may be useful to complement the pure labour market information above. Besides the global databases, also use of national sources is highly encouraged for better contextual understanding and coverage.

Data sources for monitoring recovery from Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic triggered a wave of new data collection efforts to cover information gaps in a rapidly changing environment. The rapid surveys are highly valuable sources of current information as they are able to answer many of the questions needed for understanding the changes in the labour markets. however, these data sources should be used with care as they do not have the same coverage and comparability as the traditional surveys.