Labour Force Survey

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

Received a letter?

The information leaflet explains all about the survey in detail and can be accessed here.

A copy of the letter send to households can be viewed here.

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

You can view the letters sent to respondents and alternative language versions here.



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). More information on Pointer can be found here

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.



A copy of the questionnaire can be viewed here.

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 at the following link:


UK level results

Results at UK level can be found on the Office for National Statistics website at the following link:

European results

Results at a European level can be found on the Eurostat website at the following link:


Microdata / Datasets

LFS Datasets (along with the Annual Population datasets) can be found on the ESRC UK data archive at the following link:

Further Information / Helpful Links

ONS have produced user guides on using LFS Data, providing guidance on the background and methodology of the LFS here.

Quality measures (such as sampling errors, response rates, proxy responses, imputation and non response bias) are available here.

Click here for a list of Labour Force Surveys across the globe.



For more information on the results from the Labour Force Survey please contact Carly Gordon:

Carly Gordon
Telephone: 02890 255172

For more information on the delivery of the Labour Force Survey please contact Elaine Fox:

Elaine Fox
Telephone: 02890 255090

Central Survey Unit

Central Survey Unit Home page