The first labor force survey, named the Philippine Statistical Survey of Households (PSSH) was conducted in May 1956. The employment concepts, questionnaire design and other characteristics of the survey, including the title, have evolved through the years (see Technical Document entitled”Development of Labor Force Surveys”). Currently, the LFS is conducted on a quarterly basis. The survey months are January, April, July and October.
The Labor Force Survey (LFS) aims to provide a quantitative framework for the preparation of plans and formulation of policies affecting the labor market.
Specifically, the survey is designed to provide statistics on levels and trends of employment, unemployment and underemployment for the country as a whole, and for each of the administrative regions.
Importance of the Labor Force Survey:
a. It provides a quantitative framework for the preparation of plans and formulation of policies affecting the labor market towards
1) creation and generation of gainful employment and livelihood opportunities
2) reduction of unemployment and promotion of employment
3) improvement of working conditions
4) enhancement of the welfare of a working person
b. It provides statistics on levels and trends of employment and unemployment and underemployment for the country and regions;
c. It is used for the projection of future manpower, which when compared with the future manpower requirements, will help identify employment and training needs;
d. It helps in the assessment of the potential human resource available for economic development; and
e. It identifies the differences in employment, unemployment, and underemployment according to the different economic, social and ethnic groups existing within the population.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
v2.0_M: Edited data, for public use.
The survey involves the collection of data on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population in general. It focuses on levels and trends of employment, unemployment and underemployment of the country with data breakdown for each of the regions.
The geographic coverage consists of the country's 17 administrative regions defined in Executive Order (EO) 36 and 131. The 17 regions are:
National Capital Region (NCR),
Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),
Region I - Ilocos Region,
Region II - Cagayan Valley,
Region III - Central Luzon,
Region IV-A - CALABARZON,
Region IV-B - MIMAROPA,
Region V - Bicol Region,
Region VI - Western Visayas,
Region VII - Central Visayas,
Region VIII - Eastern Visayas,
Region IX - Zamboanga Peninsula,
Region X - Northern Mindanao,
Region XI - Davao Region,
Region XII - SOCCSKSARGEN,
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
The LFS has as its target population, all household members of the sample housing units nationwide. A household is defined as an aggregate of persons, generally but not necessarily bound by ties of kinship, who live together under the same roof and eat together or share in common the household food. Household membership comprises the head of the household, relatives living with him such as his or her spouse, children, parent, brother or sister, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, grandson or granddaughter, and other relatives. Household membership likewise includes boarders, domestic helpers and non-relatives. A person who lives alone is considered a separate household.
Persons who reside in the institutions are not within the scope of the survey.
Producers and sponsors
National Statistics Office
National Statistical Coordination Board
Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics
Department of Labor and Employment Department of Labor and Employment Department of Labor and Employment
The sampling design of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) uses the sampling design of the 2003 Master Sample (MS) for Household Surveys that started July 2003.
As in most household surveys, the 2003 MS used an area sample design. The Enumeration Area Reference File (EARF) of the 2000 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) was utilized as sampling frame. The EARF contains the number of households by enumeration area (EA) in each barangay. This frame was used to form the primary sampling units (PSUs). With consideration of the period for which the 2003 MS will be in use, the PSUs were formed/defined as a barangay or a combination of barangays with at least 500 households.
Startification involves the division of the entire population into non-overlapping subgroups called starta. Prior to sample selection, the PSUs in each domain were stratified as follows:
1) All large PSUs were treated as separate strata and were referred to as certainty selections (self-representing PSUs). A PSU was considered large if it has a large probability of selection.
2) All other PSUs were then stratified by province, highly urbanized city (HUC) and independent component city (ICC).
3) Within each province/HUC/ICC, the PSUs were further stratified or grouped with respect to some socio-economic variables that were related to poverty incidence. These variables were: (a) the proportion of strongly built houses (PSTRONG); (b) an indication of the proportion of households engaged in agriculture (AGRI); and (c) the per-capita income (PERCAPITA).
To have some control over the subsample size, the PSUs were selected with probability proportional to some estimated measure of size. The size measure refers to the total number of households from the 2000 CPH. Because of the wide variation in PSU sizes, PSUs with selection probabilities greater than 1 were identified and were included in the sample as certainty selections.
At the second stage, enumeration areas (EAs) were selected within sampled PSUs, and at the third stage, housing units were selected within sampled EAs. Generally, all households in sampled housing units were enumerated, except for few cases when the number of households in a housing unit exceeds three. In which case, a sample of three households in a sampled housing unit was selected at random with equal probability.
An EA is defined as an area with discernable boundaries within barangays, consisting of about 150 contiguous households. These EAs were identified during the 2000 CPH. A housing unit is a structurally separate and independent place of abode which, by the way it has been constructed, converted, or arranged, is intended for habitation by a household
The 2003 Master Sample consist of a sample of 2,835 PSUs of which 330 were certainty PSUs and 2,505 were non certainty PSUs. The number of households for the 2000 CPH was used as measure of size. The entire MS was divided into four sub-samples or independent replicates, such as a quarter sample contains one fourth of the PSUs found in one replicate; a half-sample contains one-half of the PSUs in two replicates. Thus, the survey covers a nationwide sample of about 51,000 households deemed sufficient to measure the levels of employment and unemployment at the national and regional levels.
Strategy for non-response
Replacement of sample households within the sample housing units is allowed only if the listed sample households had moved out of the housing unit. Replacement should be the household currently residing in the sample housing unit previously occupied by the original sample.
A total of 56,414 households were selected for the January 2008 LFS. Of this total, 44,410 were considered eligible households where 94.9 percent or 42,161 households were successfully interviewed. Among the regions, Ilocos Region had the highest response rate of 96.7 percent. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered the lowest response rate of 89.8 percent.
Calculation of Basic Weights:
Following a standard approach, the weights to be used in analyzing surveys based on the 2003 MS are developed in three stages.
- First, base weights are computed to compensate for the unequal selection probabilities in the sample design.
- Second, the base weights are adjusted to compensate for unit non-response.
- Third, the non-response adjusted weights are further adjusted to make some weighted sample distributions to conform to some known population totals.
Final Survey Weight
- The final survey weight assigned to each responding unit is computed as the product of the base weight, the non-response adjustment, and the population weighting adjustment. The final weights should be used in all analyses to produce valid estimates of population parameters.
More detailed explanation on the estimation procedure is provided in the Technical Documents.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The Regional Directors/Officer-In-Charge (RDs/OICs), Provincial Statistics Officers (PSOs), Regional and Provincial Staff were allotted a number of days to supervise the enumeration.
1) The RD/OIC coordinates with the PSOs and provides the general supervision to the staff of the provincial offices under the jurisdiction on all administrative matters and field operations relative to the survey.
2) The PSO supervises the activities of the personnel to ensure that the data collection is finished according to the timetable set.
3) The Regional and Provincial Statistician supervise in the field and ensure that all items in the questionnaire were asked, and review and edit questionnaires while still in their area of assignment and ensure that all sample households have corresponding questionnaire.
Central Office Statisticians were assigned to provinces to supervise and monitor the conduct of the survey.
Data Collection Notes
There were three levels of training:
- The first level involves the training of task force members conducted at the Central Office participated by selected central office personnel, selected regional or provincial staff.
- The second level training was held at the Regional Offices participated by the Provincial Statistical Officers, Regional Statisticians, and Provincial Statisticians. Regional or provincial staff who attended the Task Force Training will act as trainers during the second level training.
- The third level training was held at the Provincial Offices participated by the District Statistics Officers, Statistical coordination Officers and hired Statistical Researchers. The provincial staff who attended the second level training will act as trainers in this level of training.
The enumeration period started start on the second week up to the end of the survey month including Saturdays. The total mandays given to each enumerator to complete his/her workload will depend on the assigned sample areas but must not go beyond 21 days.
- All households from the sample barangays/EAs had been administered with the LFS questionnaire (ISH Form 2) with an output of six to eight households per day.
- A courtesy call to the head of the Barangay were done to inform that there is an on-going survey in their area.
- A detailed instructions on how to deal with problems encountered during enumeration is included as Technical Documents.
National Statistics Office
ISH Form 2 (LFS questionnaire) is a four-page, forty four-column questionnaire that is being used in the quarterly rounds of the Labor Force Survey nationwide. This questionnaire gathers data on the demographic and economic characteristics of the population.
On the first page of the questionnaire, the particulars about the geographic location, design codes and household auxiliary information of the sample household that is being interviewed are to be recorded. Certifications by the enumerator and his supervisor regarding the manner by which the data are collected are likewise to be made on this page.
The inside pages of the questionnaire contain the items to be determined about each member of the sample household. Columns 2 to 11 are for the demographic characteristics; columns 2 to 7A are to be ascertained of all members of the household regardless of age. Columns 8 to 9 are asked for members 5 years old and over, while column 10 is asked for members 5 to 24 years old, column 11, for 15 years old and over, while columns 12 to 16 are asked for members 5 years old and over. Items 18 to 44 on the other hand, are the series of items that will be asked of all the members 15 years old and over to determine their labor force and employment characteristics.
Most of the questions have pre-coded responses. The possible answers with their corresponding codes are printed at the bottom of the page for easy reference. Only the appropriate codes need to be entered in the cells. Other items, however, require write-in entries such as column 14 (primary occupation) and column 16 (kind of business/industry), etc. For such items, it is required that the enumerator describes the primary occupation or kind of business/industry.
The ISH Form 2 is provided as external resources.
Data processing involves two stages: manual processing and machine processing.
Manual processing is done at the provincial offices. This is the general review of the questionnaires. This process includes the folioing of the questionnaires, completeness and consistency checking of the responses, editing and coding of responses. This is done prior to machine processing.
The average output per day is 50 questionnaires.
Data entry, the transformation of information from the questionnaire to machine readable form, is done in the field offices. Machine processing involved all operations that were done with the use of a computer and/or its accessories, that is, from data encoding to tabulation. Coded data were usually in diskettes or CDs.
Machine editing was preferred to ensure correctness of encoded information. Data entry errors as well as that of the manual processing were identified using a consistency check computer program and were given necessary corrections as per verification of the field offices. Verification and validation of geographic identification, completeness checking and consistency checking and certification pass are also done at the central office. CSPro was used in the data entry and tabulations. Preliminary and final tabulations are done at the Central Office.
National Statistics Office
Division Chief, Income and Employment Statistics Division (IESD)
National Statistics Office
World Bank Microdata Library
The Survey conforms to the provisions of confidentiality stated under Section 4 of Commonwealth Act No. 591, which says that the "Data furnished to the Bureau of Census and Statistics (BCS) now known as the National Statistics Office (NSO) by an individual, corporation, partnership, institution or business enterprise shall not be used as evidence in any court or in any public office either as evidence against the individual, corporation, association, partnership, institution, or business enterprise from whom such data emanates; nor shall such data or information be divulged to any person except authorized employees of the NSO acting in the performance of their duties; nor shall such data be published except in the form of summaries or statistical tables in which no reference to an individual, corporation, association, partnership, institution or business enterprise shall appear."
Authorization to use this data is granted only to the client or data user and persons within its organization, if applicable. Under no circumstances shall the client reproduce, distribute, sell or lend the entire data or parts thereof to any other data user apart from himself or that of authorized employees in his organization. The NSO shall hold the data user fully responsible for safeguarding the data from any unauthorized access or use.
Before being granted access to the dataset, all users have to formally agree:
1. To make no copies of any files or portions of files to which s/he is granted access except those authorized by the data depositor.
2. Not to use any technique in an attempt to learn the identity of any person, establishment, or sampling unit not identified on public use data files.
3. To hold in strictest confidence the identification of any establishment or individual that may be inadvertently revealed in any documents or discussion, or analysis. Such inadvertent identification revealed in her/his analysis will be immediately brought to the attention of the data depositor.
Any report, paper or similar articles, whether published or not, emanating from the use of this data shall give appropriate acknowledgement as suggested herein, "2008 Labor Force Survey, National Statistics Office, Manila, Philippines”, as the source of basic data. The data user or client is encouraged to provide NSO with a copy of such report, paper or article. It is understood that unless expressly allowed by the client, such report, paper or article shall not be used for any purpose other than monitoring.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The NSO gives no warranty that the data are free from errors. Hence, the NSO shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage as a result of the client's manipulation or tabulation of the data
The data user acknowledges that any available intellectual property rights, including copyright in the data are owned by the Philippines National Statistics Office.
DDI Document ID
Monina C. Glumalid
National Statistics Office
Accelerated Data Program
International Household Survey Network
Editing for the IHSN Survey Catalog
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01: Adapted from "DDI_PHL_2008_LFS_v2_M" DDI that was done by metadata producers mentioned in "Metadata Production" section.