What is the Labour Force Survey?

Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 11-629-x

Issue number: 2019001

Release date: September 6, 2019

What is the Labour Force Survey? - Transcript

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "What is the Labour Force Survey")

The word "WWII" appears on screen.

After the Second World War there was an urgent need to understand the major labour market changes related to Canada's transition to a peace-time economy.

The letters "LFS" appear on screen with the words "Labour Force Survey" underneath.

This is why the Labour Force Survey, or LFS, was developed.

The words "Household survey" appears on screen.

Today, the survey is just as important. The LFS is Statistics Canada's largest and longest-running household survey.

The text "56,000 households" appears on screen.

Approximately 56,000 households across the country participate. Every single month.

The words "Every single month" appears on screen.

This large sample means the LFS can provide reliable data for different parts of the country and for specific groups – such as youth or recent immigrants.

The LFS estimates of employment and unemployment are vital measures of the health of the Canadian economy.

The word "Survey" appears on screen.

For this reason, the LFS is the only household survey with mandatory participation. Changing technology is a key part of the LFS story.

The year "1945" is on screen.

In 1945, data was collected on paper in face-to-face interviews.

The year "1970" is on screen, then the year “1994” appears.

In the 1970s, interviewers started doing some collection by telephone, and began recording data on computers in 1994.

The year "2015" is on screen.

Survey participants were first able to use a web-based questionnaire in 2015.

The year "1976" is on screen. The words "40 years of uninterrupted data" is on screen.

The survey content has evolved, too. Since a major redesign in 1976 the basic methods haven't changed, giving us more than 40 years of uninterrupted data. But questions have been added over time.

The word "Topics" is on screen. The word "Wages" is on screen. The words "Union status" appears followed by "Work absences".

The LFS now covers a wide range of topics, such as wages, union status, and work absences.

The words "Economic, social changes and events" are on screen.

It can help us understand how the labour market is affected by economic and social changes or events, such as recessions, the aging population, or even natural disasters like floods and forest fires.

The acronym "LFS" appears on screen. Underneath, the words "important decisions" are shown.

Governments, businesses, and social agencies use information from the LFS to make important decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

The words "employment insurance" appears on screen. Over these, the words "regional unemployment rate" are shown, followed by the acronym "LFS".

For example, billions of dollars in Employment Insurance benefits are transferred to individuals every year, partly based on regional unemployment rates provided by the LFS.

The words "Nearly 75 years" appears on screen. The words "Canadians participating in the LFS" appears.

For nearly 75 years, Canadians have been participating in the LFS and helping provide high-quality data on the country's labour force. What will the next 75 years bring?

(Canada wordmark appears.)

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