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The annual labour force survey and unemployment rates - calculating with confidence

Watt, Patrick and Green, Adrian (1998) The annual labour force survey and unemployment rates - calculating with confidence. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 23 (4). pp. 52-57. ISSN 0306-7866

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Abstract

The recent review by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the presentation and dissemination of labour market statistics has resulted in a greater prominence being given to the results of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) than was previously the case. In particular, in the official measurement of unemployment, a greater focus is now given to LFS results. There is an involved (and on-going) debate about the measurement of unemployment in the UK and a brief indication of some suggested references is appended to this paper. One central issue in the debate on the measurement of unemployment in the UK has been the relative accuracy of estimates from the LFS. This short paper contributes to this debate by estimating the margins of error associated with unemployment rates sourced from the Annual LFS Local Authority database for 1996, using the Ayrshire area as an example.