The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based sample survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years or older who live in South Africa. Since 2008, StatsSA have produced an annual dataset based on the QLFS data, "Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa". The dataset is constructed using data from all all four QLFS datasets in the year. The dataset also includes a number of variables (including income) that are not available in any of the QLFS datasets from 2010.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Version 01: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
Version 1 of the Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa 2020 was downloaded from Statistics South Africa on the 30th of January 2022.
Individuals: labour market activity, labour preferences, labour market history, demographic characteristics, marital status, employment status, education, grants, tax, income.
The lowest level of geographic aggregation is by Province.
The QLFS sample covers the non-institutional population except for those in workers' hostels. However, persons living in private dwelling units within institutions are enumerated. For example, within a school compound, one would enumerate the schoolmaster's house and teachers' accommodation because these are private dwellings. Students living in a dormitory on the school compound would, however, be excluded.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
Government of South Africa
Each year the LMDSA is created by combining the QLFS waves for that year and then including some additional variables. The QLFS master frame for this LMDSA was based on the 2011 population census by Stas SA. The sampling is stratified by province, district, and geographic type (urban, traditional, farm). There are 3324 PSUs drawn each year, using probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling. In the second stage Dwelling Units (DUs) are systematically selected from PSUs. The 3324 PSU are split into four groups for the year, and at each quarter the DUs from the given group are replaced by substitute DUs from the same PSU or the next PSU on the list (in the same group). It should be noted that the sampling unit is the dwelling, and the unit of observation is the household. Therefore, if a household moves out of a dwelling after being in the sample for, two quarters and a new household moves in, the new household will be enumerated for two more quarters until the DU is rotated out. If no household moves into the sampled dwelling, the dwelling will be classified as vacant (or unoccupied).
The sampling weights for the data collected from the sampled households are constructed in such a manner that the responses could be properly expanded to represent the entire civilian population of South Africa. The weights are the result of calculations involving several factors, including original selection probabilities, adjustment for non-response, and benchmarking to known population estimates from the Demography division of Stats SA. For more information see the metadata document. It appears as though Stats SA also calculated panel weights for the households that were repeatedly sampled across quarters. These are not released with this version of the LMDSA. Weighting adjustments were used for household non-response.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Telephone Interview [cati]
Data Collection Notes
Stats SA suspended face-to-face data collection for all its surveys on 19 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and restricted movement. This was to ensure that the field staff and respondents were not exposed to the risk of contracting coronavirus and to contain its spread. It is, however, imperative that Stats SA continue to provide statistics on the South African labour market. In this regard, Stats SA changed the mode of collection for collecting QLFS data to Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). To facilitate CATI, the sample that was used for QLFS Q1: 2020 was also used in Q2: 2020, Q3: 2020 and Q4: 2020.
The survey questionnaire consists of the following sections:
- Particulars of each person in the household
- Economic activities in the last week for persons aged 15 years
- Unemployment and economic inactivity for persons aged 15 years
- Main work activity in the last week for persons aged 15 years
- Earnings in the main job for employees, employers and own-account workers aged 15 years
- Migration for all persons aged 15 years
The statistical release notes that missing values were "generally imputed" for item non-response but provides no detail on how Statistics SA did so.
University of Cape Town
Public access data for use under a Creative Commons CC-BY (Attribution-only) License
Statistics South Africa. Labour Market Dynamics in South Africa 2020 [dataset]. Version 1. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2020. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/q5zj-2z74
University of Cape Town
Disclaimer and copyrights
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.
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Metadata adapted for Microdata Library
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01: This metadata was downloaded from the DataFirst website (https://www.datafirst.uct.ac.za/dataportal/index.php/catalog/central). The following two metadata fields were edited - Document and Survey ID.