Measuring the Employment Status in the Labour Force Survey and the German Census 2011. Insights from Recent Research at Destatis

Britta Gauckler, Thomas Körner


Measuring the employment status according to the labour force concept of the International Labour Organization (ILO concept) is far from being straightforward. By defining employment as any economic activity of at least one hour per week, the ILO guidelines apply a strictly economic concept which risks to conflict with everyday life perception. Consequently, small and informal jobs are likely to be overlooked in household surveys.

The employment status according to the ILO concept is the conceptual backbone of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and at the same time it is required as a compulsory variable for the European census round. Due to its particular importance, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) carried out extensive research in order to improve the survey measurement in the LFS and at the same time to develop a suitable approach for the requirements of the household survey carried out under the census 2011. The paper will focus on the impact of the questionnaire design. It is based upon the results of a follow-up survey which was carried out in the Microcensus in 2008, a large-scale field test for the preparation of the census as well as a number of cognitive laboratory tests.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Britta Gauckler, Thomas Körner

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