Labour Force Survey - Labour Force Survey - quarterly data
National Statistical Institute
|Contact organisation unit|
Labour Market Statistics Department
|Contact person function|
|Contact mail address|
2, P. Volov Str., 1038 Sofia, Bulgaria
|Contact email address|
|Contact phone number|
(+359 2) 9857 619
(+359 2) 9857 132
|Contact fax number|
|Metadata last certified||20 July 2021|
|Metadata last posted||20 July 2021|
|Metadata last update||20 July 2021|
Quarterly data from the Labour force survey
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a sample statistical survey carried out through households. The main purpose of the survey is to provide data on labour status of population aged 15 years and over and on the main characteristics of employed, unemployed and persons out of labour force in the Republic of Bulgaria.
The classifications applied in the Labour Force Survey are harmonised with the international classifications in terms of economic activities, occupations, levels of education. The main classifications used are the following:
- International Standard Classification of Education, 1997 version (ISCED 1997) - until the end of 2013;
- International Standard Classification of Education, 2011 version (ISCED 2011) - since the beginning of 2014;
- Classification of Economic Activities (CEA-2008, for international use NACE.BG 2008) - since 2008;
- National Classification of Occupations and Duties-2005 (NCOD-2005) (1st digit - occupational class), comparable to the International Standard Classification of Occupations - ISCO '88 - until the end of 2010;
- National Classification of Occupations and Duties-2011 (NCOD-2011) (1st digit - occupational class), comparable to the International Standard Classification of Occupations - ISCO '08 - since the beginning of 2011;
- International classification of professional status - ICSE-93;
- Classification of Territorial Units for Statistical Purposes in Bulgaria - NUTS.
All members of the selected non-institutional households are covered. The questions on labour market participation are asked to persons aged 15 - 89 years.
|Statistical concepts and definitions|
The Labour Force Survey provides estimates for the main characteristics of labour market as employment, unemployment, inactivity, occupations, economic activities, working time and other, as well as social-demographic characteristics as sex, age, place of residence (urban/rural), education etc.
The main definitions applied in the survey are in accordance with the recommendation of International Labour Organisation and EU legislation.
Employed persons are persons aged 15 - 89 years who during the reference period:
- performed some work for at least one hour for pay in cash or in kind or other income;
- did not work but had a job or an enterprise, a business from which they were temporarily absent due to following reasons:
- holydays, illness, maternity or paternity leave, working time arrangement;
- participation in job-related training;
- off-season, where persons continue to regularly perform tasks and duties for the job or business, excluding fulfilment of legal or administrative obligations;
- other absence (incl. unpaid parental leave for taking care of a child between 2 and 8 years of age), where the expected duration of this absence is 3 month or less.
Persons that produce agricultural goods are considered employed if the main part of these products is intended for sale or barter.
Unemployed persons are persons aged 15 - 74 who were not employed during the reference week, according to the above definition, and
- were currently available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment before the end of the 2 weeks following the reference week; and
- were actively seeking work in the four-week period ending with the reference week or found a job to start within a period of at most 3 months from the end of the reference week.
As active methods of job search are considered the following:
- contacting a public employment office in order to find work;
- contacting a private employment agency to find a job;
- contacting employers directly;
- asking friends, relatives, or acquaintances;
- placing or answering job advertisements;
- studying job advertisements;
- taking a recruitment test or examination or being interviewed;
- placing or updating CVs online;
- making preparations to set up a business.
Labour force (economically active population) comprises all employed and unemployed persons.
Activity rate (Participation rate) - the number of persons in the labour force (economically active population) as percentage of the total population.
Employment rate - the number of employed persons as percentage of the total population.
Unemployment rate - the number of unemployed persons as percentage of the labour force (economically active population).
Duration of unemployment is the duration of the search for employment or the length of the period since leaving last job, whichever period is shorter.
Long-term unemployed persons are persons who have been unemployed for one or more years.
Long-term unemployment rate - long-term unemployed persons as percentage of the economically active population (labour force).
Persons not in the labour force (inactive population) are persons who were neither employed, nor unemployed during the reference period (incl. all persons aged below 15 or above 89 completed years).
Discouraged persons are persons not in the labour force aged 15 - 74 years who want to work but are not actively looking for job, because they do not believe they will find suitable job.
Working time. Distinction between full-time and part-time work is made according to the subjective declaration of the respondents.
The number of actual working hours per week refers to the main job, incl. paid or unpaid overtime.
Professional status. According to the professional status the employed persons are classified in the following categories:
- employers - persons who work in their own enterprise, business, farm, professional practice and employ at least one other person;
- self-employed - persons who work in their own enterprise, business, farm, professional practice and do not employ any other person;
- employees - persons who work for a public or private employer and who receive wages (salaries), fees, remuneration by civil contract etc.;
- unpaid family workers - persons who work without pay in an enterprise, farm, owned and operated by a family member.
Economic activity. Economic activity is defined by the type of production or services provided by the local units of an enterprise, where a person works. Employed persons are classified by economic activity according to the NACE.BG 2008. Aggregated economic activity groupings according to nomenclature A21 are used.
Economic sectors. The employed are classified by economic sectors through aggregation of the economic activity grouping as follows:
- The Agriculture and forestry sector includes Agriculture, hunting, forestry and Fishing;
- The Industry sector includes Mining and quarrying, Manufacturing, Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities, Construction;
- The Service sector includes all other economic activities.
Occupations. Occupation is defined by the type of work that the person carries out on the main job during the reference week. Employed persons are classified by occupation according to the National Classification of Occupations and Duties-2011 (1st digit - occupational class), comparable to the International Standard Classification of Occupations - ISCO-08.
Total population usually residing in Bulgaria, except persons living in collective households.
The whole territory of Republic of Bulgaria.
First quarter 2003 - first quarter 2021
|Unit of measure|
Most results measure number of persons in thousands and the rates - in %. The duration of actual working time is presented in hours.
For every person in the sample the reference period is one calendar week (from Monday to Sunday). Within each quarter the sample is evenly spread over the all 13 calendar weeks.
|Legal acts and other agreements|
The concepts and definitions applied in the Labour Force Survey are in line with:
- Recommendations of the International Labour Organisation;
- European Union legislation:
- 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 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;
- Regulation (EC) No 1372/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98 on the organisation of a labour force sample survey in the Community;
- 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;
- 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.
- Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 October 2019 establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples, amending Regulations (EC) No 808/2004, (EC) No 452/2008 and (EC) No 1338/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1177/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EC) No 577/98;
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2240 of 16 December 2019 specifying the technical items of the data set, establishing the technical formats for transmission of information and specifying the detailed arrangements and content of the quality reports on the organisation of a sample survey in the labour force domain in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2180 of 16 December 2019 specifying the detailed arrangements and content for the quality reports pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2181 of 16 December 2019 specifying technical characteristics as regards items common to several datasets pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
|Confidentiality - policy|
- Law on Statistics;
- Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European statistics (provision 24 and Article 20 (4)) (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the necessity to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.
|Confidentiality - data treatment|
In accordance with Article 25 of the Law on Statistics Individual data are not published. Dissemination of individual data is possible only in accordance with Article 26 of the Law on Statistics.
Individual anonymous data provided for the purposes of scientific research do not contain any administrative data as personal information and address and do not allow direct identification. Additional aggregation of data is performed for some of the variables.
Data from the Labour Force Survey are published according to the Release Calendar presenting the results of the statistical surveys carried out by the National Statistical Institute. The main LFS results are disseminated quarterly by press release and on the NSI website 45 days after the end of the reference quarter.
|Release calendar access|
The calendar is available on the NSI website: http://www.nsi.bg/en/node/480
Data are disseminated on the NSI website, section Labour Market and information system INFOSTAT, in accordance with the Law on Statistics and European Statistics Code of Practice respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably.
Accessibility of all users to statistical data and equality of their rights are stipulated in the Regulation for dissemination of statistical products and services by the National Statistical Institute.
|Frequency of dissemination|
|Accessibility and clarity|
Press release for the main Labour Force Survey results is posted on the NSI website (http://www.nsi.bg/en) each quarter according to the Release Calendar.
Detailed quarterly Labour Force Survey results are available to all users of the NSI website under the heading Labour Market, Labour Force Survey, Quarterly data: http://www.nsi.bg/en/node/6473 and through the information system INFOSTAT
Individual anonymous micro-data could be provided for scientific and research purposes by individual request according to the 'Rules of for provision of anonymised individual data for scientific and research purposes of the National Statistical Institute'.
An information service could be provided by request, according to the Rules for Dissemination of Statistical Products and Services of the National Statistical Institute.
|Documentation on methodology|
Assurance of quality of Labour Force Survey in accordance with Quality management policy and Quality management programme of NSI.
LFS Quality Report containing information of different quality aspects is prepared each year.
Main quality indicators as standard errors, coefficients of variation, non-response rate and other are calculated quarterly.
The main users of LFS statistical data are:
- International organisations:
- European Commission - DG Employment and other Directorates
- Eurostat - Labour Market unit and other units
- European Central Bank
- International Labour Organisation
- Ministries and State agencies
- Bulgarian National Bank
- Trade Unions
- Employers' organisations
- Non-governmental organisations
- Research institutions
- Companies, agencies - for own marketing researches or consultancy activities.
The national Labour Force Survey implements the full set of compulsory variables, according to EU Regulations.
|Accuracy and reliability|
The sample used for the Labour Force Survey is a two-stage stratified cluster sample, which includes about 19.6 thousand households (about 0.65% sampling rate). Due to the sampling approach used, the estimates of the parameters obtained from the survey could vary from their values in the population due to sampling errors, errors due to non-response, errors in registration or processing etc.
Coefficients of variation (relative standard errors) and confidence intervals (i.e. the range of values that 95% of times would capture the true value in the population) are calculated for assessment of stochastic reliability of the estimates for main indicators.
|Timeliness and punctuality|
The main LFS results are released 45 calendar days after the end of the reference quarter.
The LFS results are released strictly to the Release Calendar.
|Coherence and comparability|
|Comparability - geographical|
Comparability across EU Member States is considered high due to use of harmonised concepts, variables, definitions and classifications.
|Comparability - over time|
Since the beginning of 2003 a quarterly continuous Labour Force Survey which provides quarterly and annual estimates has been implemented. From the same year the harmonised definition of unemployment in accordance with Commission Regulation No 1897/2000 has been applied.
In the first quarter of 2012 a new weighting procedure was introduced in the Labour Force Survey which should be taken into account in use of LFS data. The main differences were the following:
- the number of age groups at national level for which the consistence between LFS estimates and current population estimates is achieved increased (from 4 to 14);
- population data used in LFS weighting procedure exclude population living in institutional households (which are not covered by the survey).
The discrepancy between current population estimates (used for initial quarterly LFS estimates in 2010 and 2011) and the data from the Population Census as of 1 February 2011 has also an impact over the comparability of LFS data. Due to availability of new population estimates based on 2011 Population Census and changes in the weighting procedure revised LFS estimates for 2010 and 2011 are produced and published at the NSI website.
In consequence, the revised data for 2010 are not fully comparable with those for previous years.
In the first quarter of 2021 certain changes in the methodology of the Labour Force Survey have been implemented in line with the Regulation (EU) 2019/1700 of European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples, and subsequent implementing regulations in the field of labour force statistics. These changes concern mainly employment and unemployment definitions, some of them are the following:
- Persons on leave for looking after a child of one to two years of age who are receiving fixed compensation during that leave, are considered employed (they used to be considered economically inactive persons up to the end of 2020);
- Persons on an unpaid parental leave for looking after a child of two to eight years of age are considered employed only if the one time duration of using that leave is at most three months. All persons on this kind of leave used to be considered employed up to 2020.
- Persons who are absent from work due to reasons other than holidays, illness, accident or paid maternity and parental leave are considered employed only if the expected duration of this absence is 3 months or less (even they are being partially compensated);
- Persons who produce agricultural goods for self-consumption are excluded from the employed person’s category even if they satisfy their household’s main consumption needs by that production. Employed are considered only persons growing agricultural produce, which main part is intended for sale or barter.
|Coherence - cross domain|
Coherence with population data
The LFS uses the latest available population estimates (by age, place of residence, age group and districts) to gross up sample results. Since 2012 population data used for LFS estimates excluded persons living in collective households (which are out of scope of the survey).
Coherence with employment estimates in National Accounts
National Accounts (NA) use different data sources which are combined to obtain the best comprehensive and consistent estimates. In results National Accounts data could differ from the results of each source. For Bulgaria the main difference between LFS and NA refers to Agricultural employment. In the estimation of self-employment in agriculture NA use data based on Agricultural Census and sample surveys, carried out by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
NA employment data are based on domestic concept (employment in resident production units irrespective of the place of residence of the employee) while LFS gives information on the national concept (i.e. resident employed).
LFS does not cover persons living in collective households which are included in NA employment estimates.
Coherence with Annual and Quarterly Surveys on employees, hours worked, wages and salaries and other expenditures paid by the employer
The main methodological difference between the two surveys is the coverage of employed persons. The surveys on employee, hours worked, wages and salaries and other expenditures paid by the employer provides data on persons who work under employment contract according to the Labour Code or the State Officials Act, while the Labour Force Survey covers also persons employed by other type of contract or without formal contract as well as self employed persons (employers, own account workers and unpaid family workers). The published data on employees by labour contract do not include defence and public security activities.
The existed differences in terms of survey units, reference periods, modes of classifying by economic activities (register/description given by the respondents), principles of territorial allocation (by place of work/by place of living) also influenced on the comparability of results from the surveys.
Coherence with registered unemployment data
The main methodological differences between the LFS data on unemployment and data on registered unemployment provided by National Employment Agency are the following:
- According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition applied in Labour Force Survey, unemployed are considered not only and not all persons, registered in employment offices, but also those who are looking for job using other active methods: by private employment agencies, direct application to employers, assistance from friends or relatives, placing, answering or studying job advertisements, placing or updating CVs online etc. The registration itself is not regarded as active method but the contact with an employment agency with a purpose to find job.
- In contrast to registered unemployed, students and pensioners who are actively looking for work and are available for work are considered as unemployed in LFS.
- The data on economically active population used as denominator for the calculation of unemployment rate is different - in LFS economically active population consists of employed and unemployed persons, as estimated through the same survey, while for calculation of registered unemployment rate, Population Census data for economically active population is being used.
|Coherence - internal|
Some of the totals (rows and columns) in tables are not equal to the sum of their components because of the rounding of figures.
|Cost and burden|
The average duration of LFS interview is about 15 minutes per person. The individual duration of an interview depends on the labour status of person and survey wave.
|Data revision - policy|
Revisions of previously released data are usually not performed. By exception revisions may happen after new estimates of population from a population census became available.
|Data revision - practice|
Due to availability of new population estimates based on 2011 Population Census and changes in LFS weighting procedure revised quarterly LFS data for 2010 and 2011 are produced and published at the NSI website.
Source of data is Labour Force Survey, carried out over a sample of 19.6 thousand households.
|Frequency of data collection|
Data are collected through paper questionnaire and personal interview with members of the selected households. Questions on labour market participation are asked to persons aged 15 - 89 years.
Plausibility checks are executed during the data entry. Additional consistency checks are carried out before publishing of data.
The filled in questionnaires are coded (for economic activity, occupation, place of work, field of education etc.) and data are entered into computer in NSI regional units. Data files are sent to NSI, where additional control and weighting are performed. Data are aggregated by different variables (characteristics), tabulated and prepared for dissemination.