The main objective of the 2011 Labour Force Survey is to collect information on the structure and distribution of labour force, employment and unemployment. Besides furnishing estimates at national and state levels, the survey also produces useful data
for urban and rural areas. The comprehensive and systematic approach in the data collection and processing has been maintained over a period of time with the aim of obtaining comparable time series data.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
People aged 15 years and over
The scope of the study includes:
- Demographic characteristics: age, sex, marital status, nationality, ethnicity, place/country of previous residence, educational attainment, relationship to household head;
- Main labour related characteristics: employment, unemployment, underemployment, hours of work, wages, employment in informal sector, informal employment, labour migration, absence from work;
- Other labour related characteristics: industry, occupation, status in employment, institutional sector (public/private), existence of more than one job, characteristics of the second job(s), duration of unemployment, previous working experience, methods of looking for work, reasons for not being in the labour force.
The Labour Force Survey covers both urban and rural areas of all states in Malaysia.
The survey population is defined to cover persons who live in private living quarters and hence excludes persons residing in institutions such as hotels, hostels, hospitals, prisons, boarding houses and military barracks. The survey comprises the economically active and inactive population.
Producers and sponsors
Department of Statistics
Government of Malaysia
The frame used for the Labour Force Survey is from the Household Sampling Frame, Department of Statistics, Malaysia which is made up of Enumeration Blocks (EBs) created for the 2000 Population and Housing Census.
EBs are geographically contiguous areas of land with identifiable boundaries. On average, each EB contains about 80 to 120 living quarters. Generally, all EBs are formed within gazetted boundaries, i.e. within administrative district, mukim or local authority areas.
The EBs in the sampling frame are also classified by urban and rural areas. Urban areas are as defined in the 2000 Population and Housing Census. Urban areas are gazetted areas with their adjoining built-up areas which have a combined population of 10,000 or more at the time of the 2000 Population and Housing Census. All other gazetted areas with a population of less than 10,000 persons and non-gazetted areas are classified as rural. Built-up areas are defined as areas contiguous to a gazetted area and has at least 60 per cent of their population (aged 10 years and over) engaged in nonagricultural activities as well as having modern toilet facilities in their housing units.
Urbanisation is a dynamic process and keeps changing in line with the progress and development. Thus, the urban areas for the 1991 and 2000 censuses do not necessarily refer to the same areas, as areas fulfilling the criteria of urban continue to increase or grow.
For the purpose of urban/rural analysis, the stratum are combined as follows:
Urban = Metropolitan + Urban large
Rural = Urban small + Rural
A stratified two-staged sample design is adopted, that is:
Primary stratum = made up of the states in Malaysia
Secondary stratum = made up of the urban and rural stratum as defined in para 6.7 and formed within the primary stratum
Samples are drawn independently within each level of the secondary stratum. The first stage units of sample selection are the EBs while the second stage units are the living quarters (LQs) within the EBs. All households and persons within the selected LQs are canvassed. At every stage of selection, the units are selected systematically with equal probability within each level of the secondary stratum.
The sample size required is based on the reliability of available past data. Other factors such as cost and availability of staff are also taken into consideration in determining the sample size.
The sampling procedures are more fully described in "Malaysia Labour Force Survey 2011 - Report" pp. 261-264.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Labour Force Survey uses the personal interview method. During the survey period, trained interviewers will visit households in selected living quarters to collect information on all household members including their demographic particulars. In terms of field operation, detailed information on labour force particulars is collected from all members aged 15 years and over.
Field checks are undertaken to identify and correct any errors or omissions at the time when the survey is conducted. In addition to this, repeat interviews on selected households are made to check the quality of the field work.
The survey questionnaire is designed to collect pertinent information on personal characteristics of the survey population and detailed information on economic characteristics of the labour force.
All household members will be asked the following information:
(i) relationship to the head of household;
(iv) ethnic and citizenship;
(v) marital status; and
(vi) educational attainment.
For those aged 15 years and over, their activity status either employed unemployed or outside labour force will be determined. Information collected from the employed include whether they had been working or not during the reference week, the number of hours worked, occupation, industry and status in employment. If they have worked less than 30 hours per week, reasons and willingness to accept additional work is also obtained. If they have not been working during the reference week but have a job to return to, the reasons for not working would be sought.
The following questions will be asked to those who are unemployed:
(i) action taken to look for work;
(ii) work experience; and
(iii) duration of unemployment.
Those who are classified as outside labour force will be asked to state the reasons for not seeking work and work experience, if any.
Estimates of Sampling Error
Sampling error is a result of estimating data based on a probability sampling, not on census. Such error in statistics is termed as relative standard error and often denoted as RSE which is given in percentage. This error is an indication to the precision of the parameter under study. In other words, it reflects the extent of variation with other sample-based estimates.
Sampling errors of estimates on a few important variables at national and state levels are calculated separately. For Labour Force Survey 2011, the labour force participation rate for Malaysia was 64.4 percent with an RSE of 0.25 percent and standard error (SE) of 0.16 percent. At 95 per cent confidence interval (a = 0.05), the labour force participation rate was in the range of 64.08–64.72 percent.
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
Department of Statistics, Government of Malaysia. Malaysia Labour Force Survey 2011, ref. MYS_2011_LFS_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [url] on [date].
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.