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Labour Force Survey Data for South Africa: A brief assessment

- Haroon Bhorat, Robert Hill and François Steenkamp

This paper provides a brief assessment of the labour force survey data, focused particularly on the current survey instrument, the QLFS.

Drawing on relevant literature and feedback from analysts who regularly use these data, we discuss challenges specific to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), off er potential interventions to improve the QLFS at the margin, and offer a set of potential extensions that aim to expand the exploratory reach of the survey. Interventions to improve the QLFS at the margin include, the better capture of employment and earnings data, and clarity on changes to the survey approach. Potential extensions to the QLFS include: a deeper assessment of job quality and the employment relationship, the further capture of information on household grant receipt, particularly among the employed, the capture of data on secondary and tertiary education institution names, the collection of policy relevant data that would aid evidence-based policy formulation, and the capture of data on both internal and external migration.

Importantly, the choice of extension should be conducted with policy priorities in mind, and should incorporate the insights of various stakeholders, including policy makers and research analysts who regularly employ these data.

Critical Assessment of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey