Variables in Labour Force Survey Calendar Datasets
In accordance with EU regulations, the LFS moved from seasonal (spring, summer, autumn, winter) quarters to calendar quarters (January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December) in 2006. The seasonal datasets have been removed and replaced by the calendar datasets. As a result a number of variables have been dropped from the datasets. This affects the following "types" of variables:
- variables with derivation changes between quarters. For example from Spring 2001 (Mar to May), the Labour Force Survey (LFS) introduced new questions on ethnicity in line with the new ethnicity classification. ONS have dropped the ethnicity variables from the 2001 Quarter 1 dataset (Jan-Mar) as including them would introduce inconsistency within that quarter (i.e. there would be a different definition of ethnicity in Jan/Feb to that in March).
- variables that only occur within one quarter of the year. For example union, which was included in winter quarters (Dec-Feb) from 1998-2004 has been dropped by ONS as it introduces inconsistency within the new calendar quarter (i.e. union would only be present within one month of calendar quarter 4 - December).
Unfortunately the LFS User Guides do not reflect the changes noted above. As a result you will find that certain variables noted in the User Guides as being present in the datasets are not actually in the datasets. We advise users to:
1. Check the data in Nesstar to see if the variables you need are available in the dataset - you should do this before you download the data/choose the data for your project.
2. The variables page for the calendar and seasonal datasets lists each calendar dataset with the corresponding seasonal datasets. If you search for a variable that appears to be missing from the Calendar dataset (e.g. union) you may find that the variable is present in the old seasonal dataset, but not in the calendar dataset. This is highly suggestive that the variable has been omitted due to the calendarisation process. You are advised to check both seasonal datasets if you are trying to find a variable.
3. Request the seasonal datasets (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you require them. Please note that these are not routinely available to download so users need to request them specifically. When requesting the datasets please provide information about the missing variables that you require. The seasonal datasets are available from March-May 1992 through to March-May 2006 but are still weighted to the 2003 population figures, not 2007, and they cannot be considered consistent with calendar datasets.