Being the first labor force survey in the country since 1984, and the first since the end of the conflict, the 2014 Labor Force Survey (LFS) contributed to the construction of reliable employment statistics in Sierra Leone. Previously, the main source of information on the labor market was the 2004 and 2011 Sierra Leone Integrated Household Surveys, which contained limited information on the labor force. To help fill this important knowledge gap, Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL), with the support of the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), designed and implemented the 2014 Sierra Leone Labor Force Survey. The survey data was collected between July and August 2014 and constitute a nationally representative sample. The 2014 LFS contains a wealth of information on labor market activities, including detailed data on household enterprises and agricultural activities.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
- v01: Edited, anonymous datasets for public distribution.
The dataset is compiled into five data files corresponding to one each for the above-mentioned questionnaire sections and for the sample weights:
• merged A to J
• merged K
• merged L1-24
• merged L25-26 and L27-34
The variables ea_code and hh_id together uniquely identify each household. In addition to the household unique identifiers, the variables A_0, K_0, plot_id, crop_id, and L_00 are the unique identifiers for each household member, household enterprise, household plots and crops, and livestock assets, respectively. The variable wt_hh is the household weight.
The main topics covered by the LFS were: household composition and demographic information; education, training, and migration; unemployment and inactivity; current main and secondary economic activities; usual economic activity; industrial relations and occupational injuries; time use; family/household non-farm enterprises; and farming activities.
Given the structure of the labor market in Sierra Leone, in which the vast majority of the people in the labor force are in agriculture or self-employed, two modules that are not standard LFS modules were introduced to better fit the survey to the country context. The two modules were: (i) a "non-farm enterprise" module capturing information about household businesses/income activities; and (ii) a "farm" module, which collects basic information such as crops produced, landholdings, land under cultivation, commercialization of crops, input use, and access to extension, and other agricultural services.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics Sierra Leone
International Labour Organization
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
The LFS is a nationally representative survey, relying on a stratified cluster sample with oversampling in urban areas. It covered 280 enumeration areas (EAs) or clusters, with 15 households selected in each for a total of 4,200 households. SSL conducted the sampling using the 2004 Population and Housing Census as the sampling frame.
In the Sierra Leone Population and Housing Census (SLPHC 2004), the labor underutilization rate was estimated at 27.5%, which at the time was considered one of the most important indicators to be produced from a labor force survey in an economy such as that in Sierra Leone.
The target number of households in the sample, i.e. the sample size, was thus estimated at 4,200, based on the computed value of 4296 rounded down to 4200 for ease of use and due to budget constraints.
However, due to the Ebola outbreak, which began in the final stages of data collection, four selected EAs were quarantined in Kailahun district, Eastern region, immediately prior to the data collection. These EAs were replaced with new EAs randomly selected following the same methodology used to select the original EAs. In addition, one additional cluster was quarantined in Bombali, Northern region (EA 210706081), and it was not possible to replace this cluster using the same randomization methodology as this occurred during the data collection. As a result, this cluster was excluded in conducting the data analysis.
Non-response rate was 1.5 percent, which is low, in particular in view of the difficulties encountered by the field teams caused by the early cases of the Ebola virus.
Sampling weights for the LFS households were calculated using the following formula:
Household weight = 1/ the probability of EA being selected within strata*the probability of household being selected within the EA
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Data Collection Notes
The survey field team consisted of four regional coordinators and nineteen field teams, with each team comprised of three enumerators and one supervisor. The questionnaire was administered face-to-face. Field teams were provided a list of 15 selected households and 10 replacement households for each enumeration area. Replacement households were only interviewed if the selected household was unavailable for interviewing or if, after repeated efforts made by the enumerator and supervisor, was unwilling to participate in the survey.
A series of quality control measures were put in place to ensure survey data quality. First, after the interview process was conducted by enumerators, supervisors were responsible for reviewing and editing all questionnaires administered to minimize errors of omission, legibility, and inconsistency across sections and questions. Second, supervisors gave daily updates of their team's progress via SMS to the regional coordinators. SMS messages reported key facts for monitoring progression such as date, cluster number, questionnaires edited and completed by the supervisor, total number of households replaced, number of surveys completed by enumerator, and whether the team faced unexpected issues affecting the data collection. Finally, regional coordinators carried out spot and backup checks for quality control using smartphone-based tools to check the quality completed questionnaires and cross-check key information through short follow up interview with a subsample of respondents.
Statistics Sierra Leone
The survey instrument is divided into two parts, Part I - Labor Force Survey, and Part II - Non-Farm Enterprises and Farming Activities, as follows:
SECTION A. Household listing and demographic information
SECTION B. Education, training, and migration
SECTION C. Current economic activity – screening form
SECTION D. Unemployment or inactivity
SECTION E. Current main economic activity
SECTION F. Current secondary economic activity
SECTION G. Usual economic activity
SECTION H. Industrial relations and occupational injuries
SECTION I. Time-related underemployment and inadequate employment situations
SECTION J. Other activities and time use
SECTION K. Family/household non-farm enterprises
SECTION L. Farming activities
Part I was administered to all LFS eligible individuals, with the exception of Section J, covering other activities and time use, which applied to those ages five and above. Part II of the questionnaire was applied to the head of household only.
Statistics Sierra Leone
Statistics Sierra Leone
The micro data for the 2014 Labor Force Survey (LFS) in Sierra Leone can be downloaded from the World Bank’s microdata catalogue. The original LFS data was collected by SSL with technical assistance from the World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Global Practice, ILO, and GIZ.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Statistics Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone Labor Force Survey (LFS) 2014. Ref. SLE_2014_LFS_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [URL] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.