Labour force status of person
Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on June 21, 2010.
Labour force status refers to whether a person was employed, unemployed or not in the labour force during the reference period. The labour force consists of persons who contribute or are available to contribute to the production of goods and services falling within the System of National Accounts production boundary.
Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programs.
'Labour force status' is used to describe the currently active population and to produce measures of employment and unemployment based on current economic activity. Because the intention is to determine if a person is employed or unemployed at a specific moment in time, a relatively short reference period such as a week is used.
Information on labour force status is typically collected for persons 15 years or over and excludes institutional residents. The population included in the study should be specified.
Labour force status of a person is derived. It is derived from the following information:
1. Whether the person worked during the reference period;
2. Whether the person was absent from work during the reference period;
3. The person's reason for absence from work during the reference period;
4. Whether the person looked for work in the four weeks ending with the reference period;
5. Whether the person has a job to start within four weeks from the reference period;
6. The person's availability for work; and
7. The reason the person is not available for work.
Persons in the labour force are those who were either employed or unemployed during the reference period.
Employed persons include those who during the reference period:
1. Had paid work either as an employee or were self-employed;
2. Did unpaid family work, unpaid family work is defined as work contributing directly to a farm, business or professional practice owned and operated by a related member of the household;
3. Had a job but were absent from work due to illness or disability, personal or family responsibilities, vacation or labour dispute;
4. Were not at work because of their work schedule (e.g. shift work); or
5. Were not working because they were self-employed and had no work available.
Persons not at work because they are on layoff or are between casual jobs or because their job starts at a future date are not considered employed.
Unemployed persons include those who during the reference period:
1. Were without work but had looked for work in the past four weeks ending with the reference period and were available for work;
2. Were on temporary layoff due to business conditions and were available for work; or
3. Were without work, had a job to start within four weeks of the reference period and were available for work.
Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards
This standard follows those set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), particularly those adopted by the Thirteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). The ILO recognises two frameworks for analysing labour force activity: one for the "currently active population" and the other for the "usually active population". These two frameworks differ not just in the length of the reference period but also in other fundamental ways. The usually active framework studies the main economic activity of the person rather than focusing on current activity. The classification scheme used for usual activity also differs in that it is based on the comparative lengths of time spent as unemployed, employed or not usually active over a longer reference period such as a year. This labour force status standard follows the "currently active population" framework that is recognised by the ILO.
These standards also follow the System of National Accounts definition in that persons who are in the labour force are those who do work that is within the production boundary of the System of National Accounts.
Those engaged in unpaid services such as community and volunteer services or unpaid domestic services are not considered to be part of the labour force by this standard or by the international standards set by the Thirteenth ICLS. Only persons who contribute or are available to contribute to the production of goods and services falling within the System of National Accounts production boundary are counted as part of the labour force.
The United Nations and the ILO state that while information on economic activity should in principle cover the entire population, in practice it is collected for each person at or above a certain age set according to the conditions in that country. The United Nations recommends that tabulations on economic characteristics should distinguish at a minimum, persons of 15 years and over from those under 15. They also use the term "adult unemployment rate" to refer to the proportion of the adult (aged 15 years and older) labour force that is unemployed.
International Labour Office, Ralf Hussmanns, Farhad Mehran, and Vijay Verma, Surveys of economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment: An ILO manual on concepts and methods (Geneva, 1990).
European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations and World Bank, System of National Accounts 2008 (New York, 2009).
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistical Division, United Nations, Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2 (New York, 2008).
United Nations. Social Indicators (tables) (accessed: May 6, 2010).
- Labour force status, NEET variant January 01, 2020 to current
- Classification of labour force status, non-student and student September 01, 2019 to current
- Classification of single and multiple jobholders January 01, 2016 to current
- Classification of Employed Status June 21, 2010 to current
- Classification of Labour Force Status June 21, 2010 to current
- Collapsed Classification of Labour Force Status June 21, 2010 to current
For the Statistics Canada standards related to unpaid service please see the following:
Relation to previous version
- Labour force status of person June 21, 2010 to current
This is the current standard.