New Labour Force Survey (LFS) available

27 February 2018

The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was first introduced by the CSO in Q4 1997 and has been used to produce estimates of employment and unemployment for Ireland since its introduction. In recent years, however, the CSO identified a need to modernise and update the QNHS and therefore it is now replacing the survey with the new Labour Force Survey (LFS) from Q3 2017. Therefore, with effect from Q3 2017 the LFS is the official source of estimates of employment and unemployment for Ireland.

This modernisation has been undertaken to primarily improve the quality of Labour Market statistics for Ireland. Mixed mode (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing – CATI) has now been introduced as part of the LFS to create additional capacity to meet evolving social survey data needs in the fields of, for example, Health, Education and Wealth Statistics. The CSO has also reviewed and modernised the questionnaire used in the new LFS and plans to use the flexibility of the mixed mode data collection to pilot additional questions in the LFS.

The weekly allocation of the sample used in the LFS has also been updated. This has been undertaken to facilitate the CSO examining the future possibility of producing a wider range of monthly Labour Market directly from the LFS. The CSO will also examine the possibility of further improving the timeliness of Labour Market estimates.

In addition, the approach used to code the Industry and Occupation sectors of respondents has been updated to improve the quality of these codes while a non-response adjustment has also been introduced to the LFS. The Seasonal Adjustment methodology applied to the survey has also been updated.

To minimise the breaks in series to the key survey estimates, the CSO has created a backcasted QNHS series from Q1 1998 to Q2 2017. These backcast series have been created using scaling factors from a comparison of data captured from a parallel run of the QNHS and LFS at the beginning of 2017.

The New Labour Force Survey (LFS) anonymised microdata files (AMF) are now available from ISSDA for Q1 1998 to Q3 2017. If you have previously used the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) you are now requested to cease using the old data files for analysis and research purposes and the old data should be removed from your systems as soon as possible and you should have recieved an email to this effect from

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