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EU-Labour Force Survey


Data description

EurostatThe European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS micro data) is a cross-sectional and longitudinal household sample survey, collated by Eurostat from data provided by the EU member states, three EFTA countries and three EU-candidate countries. The database provides observations on labour market participation and persons outside the labour force. Details of access (EUI members only) are given below.

The information on this page pertains to the restricted-access EU-LFS micro dataset. Aggregate employment data can be downloaded from the Eurostat portal at Population and Social Conditions > Labour Market.

European national statistical agencies are responsible for selecting EU-LFS samples, preparing questionnaires, conducting household interviews and forwarding results to Eurostat in accordance with a common coding scheme:

  • Uniform concepts and definitions
  • International Labour Organisation compliant
  • Common classifications: NACE, ISCO, ISCED, NUTS
  • Same set of characteristics for each country.

Definitions apply to persons living in private households aged 15 or above, except those undertaking military service. Wage data is not included in EU-LFS, and should not be listed as a variable in data access applications (see access procedures below).

Documention in the EU-LFS folder contains:

  • The EU-LFS User Guide
  • A list of data revisions to previous EU-LFS data waves
  • A list of all datasets (.csv); standard quarterly and yearly data files; special files with household data, and; ad hoc module files.

Eurostat and the Collaboration in Research and Methodology for Official Statistics (CROS) maintain public use files (PUFs) for the EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) and EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC).


Time period
  • Data updated: October, 2017
  • Core data: 1983-2016
  • Ad hoc modules: Wave 1999; and Waves 2002 to 2015.


Support links


How to access data

Current EUI members can apply to access EU-LFS micro data as follows. Please note that the Eurostat application process can take up to two months due to clearing procedures with EU member state statistical agencies. The EUI is a Eurostat-recognised research entity.

  • Complete the Library's Micro Data Registration Form (selecting 'EU-LFS' in the dropdown menu)
  • The EUI Researcher - or Principal Investigator in a research team - must create an EU Login to apply for Eurostat micro data access
  • Special note: Eurostat informs that for EUI researchers - it is necessary to use a non-institutional (non-EUI) personal email account for the creation of the EU Login. It is not necessary for all members of a research team to create an EU login; only the person submitting the application.
  • Project applications are made using the online Microdata Access Workflow Tool
  • Before completing the form, consult the Eurostat EU Labour Force Survey description page for details of EU-LFS variables, reference years and population
  • The Principal Researcher is normally the Project Supervisor / Professor
  • The EUI Data Manager is Thomas Bourke
  • The names and contact details of all individual researchers on the project must be included in the form. Here the EUI e-mail addresse(s) and contact details are to be used
  • Write to [email protected] for the Research Entity ID number and the description of the EUI's secure data environment
  • After receipt of the micro data access application, the Eurostat technical unit may send preliminary feedback to the Principal Investigator (or to the person who submitted the application, this can be individual researcher)
  • If the application is approved by Eurostat, the applicant(s) must sign and return the Eurostat micro data access contract
  • Eurostat sends the signed application to the EU Member States' statistical agencies for final consultations
  • The applicant(s) must also complete the online EUI Data Registration Form (selecting 'EU-LFS' from the dropdown menu) and sign the internal EUI Conditions of Use agreement
  • The Library then provides access to the data.

Eurostat informs that, upon conclusion of the user-contract, no other person is eligible to access the data. Breach of these conditions may lead to the withdrawal of the EUI's research entity recognition, and the potential loss of access to Eurostat micro data by other scholars at the EUI.

The EUI is a Eurostat-recognised research entity.

EU-LFS is not available to short-term visitors at the EUI and is not available off campus.

Member State statistical agencies and Eurostat reserve the right to decline access to EU-LFS data.


Metadata support

The GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences maintains the Metadata for Official Statistics Support Portal for European micro data. Detailed metadata and documentation for EU-AES and other micro datasets are available.

The service is part of MISSY - the GESIS Microdata Information System - providing support for users of European micro data.

“MISSY pools a broad spectrum of metadata in one centralised resource. This includes information on series, such as access conditions or details on data collection in participating countries, as well as detailed information on variables such as frequencies, filter information or question wordings... Users can choose between systematic accesses via a series, the variable-over-time matrix which lists the availability of variables in table form or a thematically sorted access to all studies. Additionally selected variables can be visualised in a comparison table.”


Data Citation and disclaimer

Researchers must cite the source of EU-LFS data as follows:

"This study/report/paper is based on data from Eurostat, EU Labour Force Survey [reference year(s)]."

The following disclaimer must be added: "The responsibility for all conclusions drawn from the data lies entirely with the author(s)."


Related resources


Data homepage

Contact: Thomas Bourke at [email protected]  




Page last updated on 12 November 2019