Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008 (NLFS II) is the second round of a multi topic national labour force survey carried out by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) from January to December 2008. As a follow up to the first NLFS of 1998/99 (NLFS I), NLFS II helps not only to update labour force statistics but also to compare changes undergone in labour and labour market conditions in Nepal in the last nine years.
The major aim of the 2008 Nepal Labour Force Survey was to update a set of comprehensive statistics on employment, unemployment, under-employment. As essential tools, such information play key role in assessing the impact of various government policies and programs planned for employment generation. Likewise, the results from the survey do provide information required for skill development, for managing the flow of migrant workers, for improving the status of women and children, and for assessing the role and importance of the informal sector. However, this time, the scope was further extended to generate information required to improve infrastructure of households and for appropriate management of remittances flowing into the country.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The 2008 Nepal Labour Force Survey covered the following topics:
- Household identification, including geographic area identification
- Household information (type of tenancy, main source of drinking water and lighting, type of fuel used for cooking, type of toilet facility, ownership of agricultural land, and total area of agricultural land owned or operated)
- General household members information
- Current activities (during the last 7 days)
- Unemployment information (those who did not work in the last 7 days)
- Activity in the last 12 months
- Past employment record
- Absentees information
- Remittance received from other sources
- Household roster
The survey covered all households excluding households of diplomatic missions and institutional households such as school hostels, prisons, army camps and hospitals. The homeless and those people living for six months or more away from the households were not considered eligible and hence were excluded from the survey.
Producers and sponsors
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)
National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal
International Labour Organization
United Nations Development Programme
The sampling design adopted in NLSS-II is slightly modified from NLFS-I. The design is based on two stages stratified sampling technique with equal PSUs or households distributed between urban and rural areas as done in NLFS-I considering the heterogeneous labour force activities to provide a detailed picture of employment situation in the urban areas. So the prescribed 800 PSUs are divided equally in two parts, i.e., 400 PSUs each for urban and rural. Urban areas are stratified into three strata as Urban Kathmandu Valley, Other Urban Hills and Urban Tarai, and rural areas are stratified into Rural Mountains, Rural Hills and Rural Tarai. The sample size of 400 PSUs in each urban and rural area will be proportionately distributed within their respective strata. In the first stage, the prescribed PSUs (wards or sub-wards or combination of wards) are selected by Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) from each stratum, i.e. the number of households in the ward as the measure of the size. Using PPS at the first stage is followed by selecting a fixed number of households at the second stage that provides a convenient workload for each field team. This design has the benefit that the sample, in principle, is self-weighted. In the second stage, 20 households are selected from each PSU (ward) of urban and rural strata with systematic random sampling procedure giving a total of 16000 households from 800 PSUs.
The minimum sample size required is estimated as 244 households for urban and 361 households for rural domain based on the currently economically active population taken from Nepal Living Standards Survey 2003-04. Based on employment status of the population of this fresh survey information, the minimum households to be selected turns out to be 265 for urban and 277 for rural. However, 400 households each in urban and rural area have been allocated in this survey to provide reliable estimates for lower level of disaggregation up to 5 years age group (10 groups) by sex (2 groups). There will be altogether 8000 households in each urban and rural area.
Note: See Annex A (in the final survey report) for the details of the sample design.
There was very little non-response on the survey, with data not collected for only 24 households out of 16,000. Twenty of these households are accounted for by one PSU in the Far-western region. This PSU could not be covered in the third season because the selected households had been evicted to other wards of next VDC in order to declare it a wildlife conservation area. The eviction had taken place after the 2001 Population Census. The weights for the two other PSUs selected in that area were therefore adjusted at the analysis stage to compensate for the 20 missing households.
Each PSU has been assigned a weight depending on the number of households it contain. Every households within a PSU are given the PSU weights for raising up purposes.
Because of the way the sample has been designed, it is possible to use all the information arising from the survey to estimate the total number of households and total household population of Nepal. Indeed, because the sample for each season is fully representative, this exercise can be done separately for each season.
The overall raising factor for the survey is 315. This means that, on average, the NLFS II conducted interviews with 1 in 315 of the population of all age. Because of the importance of the urban sector and its relatively small size and greater heterogeneity, an interviewing rate of 1 in 103 was used in the Kathmandu urban area, 1 in 103 in Other Hill Urban and 1 in 100 in Terai Urban compared with 1 in 482 in the rural sector of Mountain area, 1 in 473 in Rural Hill and 1 in 535 in Rural Terai.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Altogether 20 field teams were formed to undertake fieldwork in different parts of the country. Each team was assigned particular areas to carry out the interviews. The field work assigned to teams was on the basis of geographical area and the purview of the Branch Statistical Offices (BSOs). Other factors considered were based on the workload and travelling time required. Each team, on an average was supposed to cover 40 PSUs. Manpower composition in each team consisted of a supervisor and three interviewers. All the field staffs were selected from the BSOs. A majority of them were males with only a few female staff.
Day to day control of each team was in the hands of the supervisor who was a member of the team, but additional supervisory visits were made by staff from the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Statistics and the National Planning Commission Secretariat. These visits were particularly important in the early stages of the field period, when interviewers were still not very familiar with the questionnaire. Thus the extensive field supervision both from the centre and from the districts (BSOs) was carried out during the survey period. Moreover the central supervision was carried out not only by the core team member of household survey section but also by the Director General and Deputy Director General of the Bureau. In addition, district level supervision was also made by the statistical officers of the BSOs.
Data Collection Notes
The survey was spread over a complete 12 months period from January 2008 until December 2008, splitting annual sample into three sub-groups for three seasons, namely, dry, rainy and winter seasons. Each sub-group was representing four months in the Nepalese calendar. Data collection actually started on 25 December 2007 but households enumerated in these first few days of the survey were classified as part of the sample for the "Dry" season.
Fieldwork continued throughout the survey year, but was curtailed for one month from mid-April 2008 because of an impending constitution assembly election. The delay in data collection was recovered within the following two months, but there may be some effect on sample allocation as between the "Dry" season and "Rainy" season as a result.
Although extensive cartographic work had already been done in connection with the NLSS-II, the staff of NLFS-II carried out further cartographic work where it was considered necessary, so as to establish clear boundaries for the selected areas.
In many rural areas interviewing of young women by young men posed difficulties for cultural reasons. Consequently, data often had to be collected through proxies possibly affecting data quality to some extent. There were two teams assigned for Kathmandu due to the larger sample in this city.
Four master trainers who belonged to the Household Survey Section of the Central Bureau of Statistics were responsible for carrying out the training programme for the survey. In the beginning, a separate training programme was launched for the BSO officers so that they would be able to provide adequate supervision and support to the field staff wherever necessary. This was then followed by a three-week training course for supervisors and enumerators together at the Staff College in Kathmandu. Because of the large number of field staffs involved (22 supervisors plus 65 enumerators, allowing for some reserves), three separate training groups were run simultaneously. Two days were spent in discussion of the interviewers' duties and general issues relating to the fieldwork, and a further three days in clarifying the key concepts used in labour force surveys. Only after that did the classes move into detailed discussion of the questionnaire. Towards the end of the training class, all field staff spent a day in urban and rural areas, with each person being required to interview at least four households. The final day was spent on a debriefing of this fieldwork exercise.
A short questionnaire was administered towards the end of the training, to evaluate the quality of the training courses and find out which aspects were still unclear, and the results were used on the final day to re-emphasize certain points.
The Nepalese terrain has always provided challenges for data gathering because many areas cannot be reached by road. In addition, for this NLFS-I survey, there was a further challenge for field operations in the Terai due to social and political disruptions. As a result, three teams were formulated in such a way as to be representative of various communities, and to be familiar with local dialects. These teams were assigned to undertake interviews in sensitive districts of the Terai.
In designing the survey, there was a concern to keep interviews to a manageable length. There was an obvious desire not to impose unnecessary burden on household members, who were giving freely their time in responding to the questions asked. There was also the consideration that the interviews within each household should not take too long, so that interviewers could complete their work load of 20 households and move on to the next PSU. Despite the increase in the number of questions when compared with the NLFS-I, the interviews with each selected person normally took about 20 minutes, with the result that interviews with the whole household were usually completed within two hours. Only in exceptional circumstances where a household was very large did it take longer than two hours to complete a household.
In collecting data on work activities, two reference periods (short and long) have been used. A week (i.e. the seven days leading up to the interview) has been used as the short reference period, and a year (12 months leading up to the interview date) as the long reference period. The short reference period is used to measure current activity, while the long period is used to measure usual activity. For many people (for instance in the case of those in government service) the main economic activity of the short period will probably be the same as the usual activity of the longer period, unless they have recently changed their jobs. In addition, one month (last 30 days) is the reference period for unemployed and underemployed people to look for work or for more hours respectively. These reference periods (one week for current activity, one year for usual activity and one month for job search activity) are all in accordance with international statistical standards.
Central Bureau of Statistics
National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal
The questionnaire for the survey was prepared in Nepali language. The questionnaire was based on the survey questionnaire used in the first Nepal Labour Force Survey 1998/99. There were some additional subjects such as household characteristics, migration and remittances and absentees information included in the questionnaire for this second round.
The NLFS-I questionnaire (which was developed on the basis of an ILO manual and comprised of 77 questions) provided a concrete base for developing the NLFS-II questionnaire. The NLFS-II questionnaire was substantially expanded to 130 questions in eight sections. The questionnaire structure ensured that respondents (other than heads of households who also had a few additional questions) generally answered a maximum of about 80 questions and most were asked significantly fewer questions.
For the sake of maintaining comparability many questions that were asked in the NLFS-I were retained. However, some important additions were made to address some contemporary issues such as household amenities, absentee population and remittances flowing into the country. Some questions were modified in order to have better response than in the previous survey. The eight sections in the NLFS-II questionnaire were designed to capture data on general information, household information, current activities, unemployment, activity in last 12 months, past employment record, absentee information and remittances received by households. The sections on household information, absentee information and remittances were asked only to head of household.
As already indicated, some modifications were made on questions that aimed to collect accurate and reliable information on informal activity and usual activity. Questions relating to usual activity were asked to collect the number of months he/she had spent in three different categories of activity (working, not working but available for work, and not working and not available for work) over the last 12 months. A month was considered to be "worked" if the person spent most days in that month at work. A month was considered to be "not working but available for work" if the person spent most days in that month not working but available to work. This method of determining usual activity status is simpler than that used in the NLFS-I (see footnote 1) but remains comparable with the international standards on labour statistics. In the household information, some of the questions are intended to provide statistics for monitoring selected Millennium Development Goals. Furthermore, some questions that have been added relate to ownership of house, type of energy used for cooking, lighting source and size of agriculture land. A copy of the questionnaire is mentioned in Annex B, while Annex C contains a detailed flow chart which can be used to identify the paths followed through the questionnaire by people with different characteristics.
As in the NLFS-I, the lower age cut-off point for the questions on economic activity was maintained at 5 years. This enables in the collection of data on the economic activities of children. This time as well, the objective to make the questionnaire more gender sensitive has been retained. Information on those activities such as cooking, cleaning and childminding which are performed without pay for the household, mainly by women, was collected.
Initially, the draft questionnaire was presented to the Technical Committee and underwent several rounds of discussions. Improvements and modifications were made according to the suggestions and comments received from members of the Technical Committee representing various interest groups. The questionnaire thereafter was pre-tested several times and revised intensively in accordance to the feedback received from each pre-test. The pre-tests were carried out to cover a wide range of areas and included different ecological zones, development regions and urban/rural areas. The questionnaire in the final Nepali version was translated into English to see if there were any misunderstandings likely to emerge. Probable confusions were removed in the final Nepali version of the questionnaire that was to be administered to the field for data collection so that there would be less chance of misunderstanding about the intended meaning of each question. At the same time an interviewers manual was prepared to elaborate the concept and objective of each question that led to collect reliable and accurate information.
A centralised data processing system was used for this survey. There could have been some advantages in using decentralised processing, since it would have permitted field editing immediately after the fieldwork. However, as in the past, the need to maintain a careful control over data entry and verification of all coding, especially of difficult topics such as occupation, industry, and subject of training was difficult to resolve in the field.
The data entry exercise in whole was carried out by at most three data entry operators for 12 months simultaneously with the field work. The data entry activity was supervised by an experienced computer officer in the section. Labour force surveys generally use very technical definitions of key terms (such as the ‘currently active’) and as in the past, special programs were therefore written in CSPro to produce these derived variables, based on how each person responded to various different questions.
Census and Survey Processing System (CSPro) package was used for data management in the NLFS II. Staffs of Household Survey Section had previous experience of using statistical package (STATA) for preparing output from Census & Surveys. So the required tables for NLFS II were produced using STATA.
Estimates of Sampling Error
As with all surveys, the results from the NLFS II are subject to two major sources of error. These can be broadly termed as sampling error and non-sampling error. In a survey of this size, the robustness of the sample design means that the sampling errors for statistics at the national level are likely to be fairly small. Non-sampling errors are likely to be the major source of concern, and every effort has been made at all stages of the survey to try to minimise these non-sampling errors.
Sampling errors have been calculated in STATA application that was used for processing this survey. In order to derive these estimates of sampling error, account was taken of the structural design of the survey, with PSUs being assigned to six strata consisting three urban and three rural stratum, and with different sampling fractions being used in each stratum. However the resulting sampling errors probably substantially overstate the width of the true confidence intervals, since they take no account of the very strong implicit stratification by region and ecological zone incorporated into the design.
More details of the estimation of sampling errors are given in Annex A of the final survey report.
Central Bureau of Statistics
National Planning Commission Secretariat, Government of Nepal
Confidentiality of the respondents is guaranteed by Article 8 of Statistics Act 1958.
Restriction on publication of information and details
Any information or details relating to any person, family, firm or company, which have been supplied, obtained or prepared pursuant to Section 3 or Section 4 or Section 5 or Section 6 or Section 7 or any part of such information or details, shall not be disclosed or published directly except to the Director General or to any other officer of the Bureau without the written permission of the person or of his or her authorized representative supplying such information or details.
For the purpose of institution of any suit under this Act, nothing mentioned in Sub-section (1) shall be deemed to bar the production of such information before any court.
All potential users of the NLFS data set will be required to adhere to the following conditions:
1. NLFS data is given to all users subject to the provision that (i) they duly acknowledge that the data used has been provided to them by CBS, and that (ii) CBS be provided with one copy of all publications in which NLFS data has been used.
2. They provide an undertaking that they will not pass copies of the data received to other individuals or organizations without first obtaining written permission from CBS allowing them to do so.
3. A fee will be levied on all users to cover the cost of preparation of the following materials. In the interests of encouraging as many users as possible to use the NLFS data, this fee will be levied at a different rate on users according a set of criteria.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal. Nepal Labour Force Survey 2007-2008 (NLFS-II). Ref. NPL_2008_LFS_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from http://cbs.gov.np/nada/index.php/catalog on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal bears no responsibility for any outcomes or for interpretations or inferences arising from the use of the dataset.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
Ducumentation of the DDI
DDI Document version
Version 1.0 - Central Bureau of Statistics - Original documentation of the study.
Version 2.0 - Edited version by ADP based on Version 1.0 of CBS downloaded from http://cbs.gov.np/nada/index.php/catalog on 22 Mar 2013.