This report presents the results of the first national Labour Force Survey (LFS) to be conducted in Timor-Leste since the country gained its full independence in 2002. Up to 2009-2010, when the LFS was carried out, Timor-Leste has had only limited labour statistics available. These came mainly from data about the seekers for jobs and training who were registered at the District Employment Centres. Other sources of information were the programmes implemented and services provided by the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE). This meant that most of the economically active population, including job seekers who do not register at Employment Centres, were not covered by any statistics.
This report presents the results of the first national Labour Force Survey (LFS) to be conducted in Timor-Leste since the country gained its full independence in 2002.
The survey provides data on a variety of key employment issues:
- the labour force, in terms of age, sex, and education;
- the employed population, in terms of occupation, economic sector and multiple job-holding;
- employment conditions, in terms of job permanency, public/private sector, hours worked, underemployment, and net monthly earnings;- informal sector and informal employment, in terms of contractual conditions, size of establishment, benefits of employment, etc.;
- the unemployed, including duration of unemployment, and methods of seeking work; and
- persons not in the labour force, their reasons for not being available to work, and their previous work experience.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
- Individual characteristics
- Migration, incl. place of birth and citizenship
- Training (outside general education system)
- Household income
- Employment characteristics of primary and secondary activitities
- Hours of work and underemployment
- Unemployed and inactive persons characteristics
Time Related Underemployment
Migration & Remittances
Training (outside general education system)
Household members ages 10 and over.
Excludes institutional population: persons living in military installations, correctional and penal institutions, dormitories of schools and universities, religious institutions, hospitals, and so forth. In the case of the armed forces, this means that they were included if they lived as members of a private household, but they were excluded if they lived in dormitories, barracks or similar accommodation.
Producers and sponsors
General Directorate of Statistics
Ministry of Finance
Secretariat of State for Professional Training and Employment Policy
Ministry of Finance
Government of Timor Leste
International Labour Organization
DNE made use of the sample of 300 census enumeration areas (EAs) that had been selected for the Timor-Leste Survey of Living Standards 2007 (SLS 2007). Those EAs had been selected with probability proportional to size (PPS), where the measure of size was the 2004 EA census count. The actual number of EAs covered in SLS 2007 was in fact 269 instead of 300, because some large EAs were selected twice (or occasionally three or more times) and therefore received the corresponding number of workloads.
For SLS 2007, an up-to-date listing of households in the selected EAs was prepared in the field, and 24 households were selected in each EA, using a random start. These 24 households were then divided up into three 'tasks' (A, B and C), one for each of the three interviewers in the team. Task A received the first eight named households, Task B the next eight, and Task C the last eight. Each interviewer was required to interview five households, but they had a reserve list of three households in case they could not contact or interview any of the first five households on their list.
For LFS 2010, attempts were made to cover exactly the same EAs as was done in SLS 2007. Occasionally an EA was missed, and in a few cases the number of workloads covered in an EA was greater than the number covered in SLS 2007. Table 1.1 shows the number of urban and rural EA workloads covered in each district, and the expected number of households. Exactly the same listing sheets were used as had been used in SLS 2007, with the same names of household heads from SLS 2007 shown on the lists.
Based on the information provided on the cover sheet of each questionnaire, the sample of 4665 households contained 12,088 males and 12,000 females, giving an average household size of 5.2 (unweighted). Among these households there were 8,610 males aged 10 and over and 8,538 females aged 10 and over; these were the people to whom most of the survey questions were directed, after the basic household listing information had been collected.
It is difficult to measure the true response rate on this survey because of the method used for selecting the households to be interviewed. Three interviewers were working in each EA. Each interviewer had five specific households to visit, and kept three households in reserve. If any of those five households could not be located, or had moved, or was out at the time of the interviewer’s visits (even after repeated visits), or refused, or was otherwise not available, the interviewer was allowed to take the first replacement household. There was officially zero nonresponse, with all quotas successfully filled and all household questionnaires being marked with code 1 (‘completed - fully responding household’).
The appropriate design weights (WT1) to use for reweighting the LFS survey data can therefore be calculated by dividing the respective number of urban and rural households found in each District in the 2004 Census by the number of households actually interviewed in each stratum.
Taking the actual number of households, rather than the number originally planned, makes an allowance for non-response, though in fact there was no measurable non-response on this survey.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The recommended sample design was expected to give results that would be representative at the national level, for urban and rural areas, and for Dili and the rest of the country. The proposal to spread data collection over a 12-month period was based on the need to capture and take account of seasonal and other temporal variations in employment.
Survey interviewing was carried out with 13 teams composed of one supervisor, three interviewers and one driver. They were recruited from outside the General Directorate of Statistics through newspaper advertisements.
They received five days of training: three days for classroom training, one day for pilot interviewing and one day for evaluation.
The questionnaires were carefully designed by the ILO team that visited Dili in March 2009. The questions were worded in the correct fashion, allowing the calculation of many statistical indicators that are fully in line with current international standards in labour statistics.
Two questionnaires were used - a household questionnaire and an individual questionnaire.
DNE had organized the translation of the questionnaires into Tetum and the final questionnaires were in booklet form.
As each district was completed, the questionnaires were booked in and checked, before data entry could begin. Some delays were experienced in implementing the complex coding of the questions on occupation and economic activity, because of difficulties in finalizing the coding frames, but agreement on suitable coding frames was finally secured. Data checking was carried out by six office staff and data entry by two other staff.
Occupation was coded at the 4-digit level using the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08), adpted to local requirements of Timor Leste.
Branch of economic activity was coded at the 4-digit level, based on the International Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC Rev 4) adapted to local requirements.
Estimates of Sampling Error
Because the LFS is a sample survey, all estimates are subject to sampling error. Sampling errors have not been included in this report, but all reported figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand in order to make some allowance for the effects of sampling error.
General Directorate of Statistics
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
General Directorate of Statistics of Timor Leste. Timor Leste Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2009-2010. Ref.TLS_2009_LFS_v01_M. 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.
DDI Document ID
ILO Department of Statistics
International Labour Organization
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (June 2016)
Version 02 (September 2016): Edited version based on Version 01 DDI (DDI_TLS_2010_LFS_v01_M_ILO) that was done by International Labour organization.