Labour Force Survey

This survey asks people in Northern Ireland about employment, unemployment and economic activity.  It also covers a wide range of related topics such as income, qualifications, training and disability. Results from the Labour Force Survey feed into UK figures for economic activity and are compared to other European countries.

Details of the Survey

It has been running since 1973, with quarterly results published since 1994.

Received a letter?

If you have been selected to take part in the Labour Force Survey one of our interviewers will make a brief doorstep visit to provide more information about the survey and how you can take part. Our interviewers are available during the day, in the evenings and at weekends and carry a NISRA identity card, for your reassurance.

Alternatively you may wish to contact us via telephone on 02890255111.

Our interviewers will present their official NISRA ID when they call.

The letter sent to respondents is available in alternative language versions.


The Labour Force Survey is based on a systematic random sample of 780 addresses is drawn each quarter from the Pointer list of domestic addresses. Pointer is the address database for Northern Ireland maintained by Land & Property Services (LPS).

Everyone aged 16 and over is interviewed about a range of questions. Our interviewer will contact the household for 5 occasions every 3 months (either in person or by phone) to find out if anyone's circumstances have changed.


Topics include:

Household and Respondent Characteristics Government Training Schemes
Main Job Home Workers (Main Job)
Sickness Absence Travel To Work
Sickness Hours Worked (Main Job)
Employment Pattern Union Representation
Second Job Home Workers (Second Job)
Looking For Work Benefit Entitlement
Employment 12 Months Ago Education And Training
Health And Injury Earnings
Religious Denomination  

Results / Publications

Northern Ireland level results

Results from the Labour Force Survey are published by the Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS) and can be found on the Labour Force Survey page.

UK level results

Results at UK level can be found on the Office for National Statistics website on their Employment and Labour Market page.

European results

Results at a European level can be found on the Eurostat website Eurostat statistics explained pages.

Microdata / Datasets

LFS Datasets (along with the Annual Population datasets) can be found on the ESRC UK data service.

Further Information / Helpful Links

ONS have produced user guides on using LFS Data, providing guidance on the background and methodology of the LFS and is available at the Labour Force Survey user guidance page.

Quality measures (such as sampling errors, response rates, proxy responses, imputation and non response bias) are available at the Labour Force Survey quality measures page.

A list of Labour Force Surveys across the globe is available at the International Labor Organisation Labour Force Surveys page.


For more information on the delivery of the Labour Force Survey please contact Ruth Hewitt:

Ruth Hewitt
Telephone: 02890 388432

For more information on the results from the Labour Force Survey please contact Mark McFetridge:

Mark McFetridge
Telephone: 02890 255172

Central Survey Unit

About the Central Survey Unit