Re-thinking of the Labor Force Survey
While the Labor Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire in its present form gathers a wealth of data on household, labor, and employment statistics, the changing structure of the labor market, globalization, liberalization, and shift in employment sectors calls for a need to upgrade the LFS questionnaire. This paper examined conformance of the LFS indicators vis à vis the standards and guidelines of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). Results revealed that concepts and definitions adopted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in designing the LFS questionnaire are by and large in conformance expect for some deviations in the treatment of future starts, unemployment, underemployment, status in employment, normal hours of work, and persons with marginal attachment to the labor force. In summary, re-thinking of the LFS resulted to the following agreements: 1) Improvement on selected items in the LFS questionnaire, 2) Adoption of the terminology on categories by class of worker in NSO and Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) publications in line with the International Classification of Status in Employment (ICSE), 3) Preparation and dissemination of a series of Special Release by NSO and LABSTAT Updates by BLES on LFS indicators or topics that will enhance data user’s understanding and appreciation of LFS statistics, 4) Formulation of a communication plan/policy for backtracking of data series due to changes in population benchmark, concepts, definitions, measurements, etc., 5) Formulation of operational definition of informal employment, 6) Use of longer data series in evaluation the merits of continuing or dropping the employment based on “past quarter” reference period item from the LFS, 7) Conduct of full-blown study on gross labor flows, and 8) Conduct of research studies or pilot tests as basis for the future revision of the LFS questionnaire with class of worker and hours of work for working children and new indicator on "job tenure" as the priority topics.