Skip to content

EU-Labour Force Survey


Data description

EurostatThe European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) 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 contains observations on labour market participation and persons outside the labour force. Details of access (EUI members only) are given below. Core data coverage is from 1983 to 2022 (update March 2023).

December 2022 EU-LFS release changes: Eurostat introduced changes to the structure of EU-LFS due to the implementation of the New Framework Regulation for EU Sample Surveys. Eurostat informs that the full back series has been transcoded. EUI users who have completed the registration procedure can continue to access the old version on the Library's restricted data server. Detailed information is in the EU-LFS Database User Guide.

The yearly datasets contain all variables (quarterly, annual, biennial and ad hoc modules).

Ad hoc Modules: Eurostat also informs of the following change: "Since 1999 an inherent part of the European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) are the modules. These were called 'ad hoc modules' until 2020. From 2021 onwards they are named either 'regular modules', when the variables have a eight-yearly periodicity, or 'modules on an ad hoc subject' for variables not included in the regular data sets."

EU-LFS 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).

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


Time period
  • Data updated: March 2023
  • Core data: 1983-2022
  • Ad hoc modules: Waves 1999 to 2021.


Support links


How to access data

EUI members can apply for access to EU-LFS micro data by following the instructions below. 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.

  • EUI scholars must create an EU Login to apply for Eurostat micro data access
  • Special note: Eurostat informs that for EUI members - it is necessary to use a non-institutional (non-EUI) personal email account for the creation of the EU Login and the RPP (Research Project Proposal)
  • The EU Logins based on personal email addresses are normally blocked by the Microdata Access Portal. To have these EU Logins validated, write to [email protected] indicating the email account which will be used for the submission of RPP
  • (It is not necessary for all members of a research team to create an EU login - only the person submitting the application)
  • Before completing the application, consult the Eurostat EU Labour Force Survey resource page for details of EU-LFS variables, reference years and population
  • Applications for data access are processed via the online Microdata Access Workflow Tool
  • When completing the application, EUI researchers should enter the name of their thesis supervisor as Principal Investigator
  • For institutional Contact Person indicate 'Dr. Simone Sacchi'
  • Write to [email protected] for (i) the Research Entity ID and (ii) the description of the EUI's secure data infrastructure and protocols
  • The names and email contact details of all scholars on the project must be included in the form (researchers, fellows, professors)
  • The applicant uses the Microdata Access Workflow Tool to initiate the application procedure. Full instructions are at this link
  • Users should read the guidelines on how to ensure anonymity of results in Chapter 6 of the Self-study material for users of microdata
  • [After receipt of the application, the Eurostat Technical Unit may provide feedback and/or requests for further information about the project]
  • The submitter should monitor their EU Login account for updates regarding the application. (Library staff do not have access to individual EU Login accounts)
  • If the application is approved by Eurostat, the applicant should print all documents (application form (RPP) and confidentiality declaration(s))
  • The Principal Investigator initials all pages of the application form, and signs and dates the final page
  • The institutional Contact Person signs the application ([email protected])
  • Separate confidentiality declarations must be signed by (i) the Principal Investigator (ii) the Applicant(s) and (iii) the Contact Person
  • The applicant scans the signed documents and uploads to the EU Login account
  • Click 'Send' to submit the documents
  • When Eurostat approves access to the data, send this to [email protected]
  • The Library provides access to the data via restricted server.

Eurostat informs that no person(s) other than those named in the contract can access the data. Breach of contract 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 EUI scholars.

There is no off-campus access to Eurostat micro data.

Short-term visitors to the EUI Library do not have access to Eurostat micro data.

Member State statistical agencies and/or Eurostat reserve the right to decline access to Eurostat micro data.

At the end of the project contract period, Eurostat will contact the P.I. requesting a signed confirmation of destruction of local copies/sub-sets of the data.

Publications based on the data should be reported via this online form.

External visitors to the EUI Library do not have access to this resource.


Metadata and software routines

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-LFS 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

EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC): Cross-sectional and longitudinal sample survey, coordinated by Eurostat, based on data from the European Union member states. EU-SILC provides data on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions in the European Union.

EUROMOD: Tax-benefit microsimulation model for the European Union developed by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, enabling researchers to calculate and compare the effects of tax and benefit policies on household incomes for EU member states and the UK.

Public use files for EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) and EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) are made available by Eurostat and CROS (Collaboration in Research and Methodology for Official Statistics).

Aggregate labour force data can be downloaded from the Eurostat data portal under Population and Social Conditions.

See also the EUI Library Directory of European Statistical Data Resources.


Data homepage

Contact: [email protected]


Page last updated on 23 April 2024

Go back to top of the page