The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) is a household-based sample survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years or older who live in South Africa.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
v1.0: Edited, anonymised dataset for public distribution
This version was downloaded by DataFirst on the 10th of November 2018.
INDIVIDUALS: labour market activity, labour preferences, labour market history, demographic characteristics, marital status, employment status, education, grants, tax.
in-job training [3.2]
labour relations/conflict [3.3]
working conditions [3.6]
LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT 
TRADE, INDUSTRY AND MARKETS 
DEMOGRAPHY AND POPULATION 
Provincial and metropolitan level
The QLFS sample covers the non-institutional population of South Africa with one exception. The only institutional subpopulation included in the QLFS sample are individuals in worker's hostels. Persons living in private dwelling units within institutions are also enumerated. For example, within a school compound, one would enumerate the schoolmaster's house and teachers' accommodation because these are private dwellings. Students living in a dormitory on the school compound would, however, be excluded.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) uses a master sample frame which has been developed as a general-purpose household survey frame that can be used by all other Stats SA household surveys that have reasonably compatible design requirement as the QLFS. The 2013 master sample is based on information collected during the 2011 population Census conducted by Stats SA. In preparation for Census 2011, the country was divided into 103 576 enumeration areas (EAs). The census EAs, together with the auxiliary information for the EAs were used as the frame units or building blocks for the formation of primary sampling units (PSUs) for the master sample since they covered the entire country and had other information that is crucial for stratification and creation of PSUs. There are 3 324 primary sampling units (PSUs) in the master sample with an expected sample of approximately 33 000 dwelling units (DUs). The number of PSUs in the current master sample (3 324) reflects an 8,0% increase in the size of the master sample compared to the previous (2007) master sample (which had 3 080 PSUs). The larger master sample of PSUs was selected to improve the precision (smaller CVs) of the QLFS estimates.
The master sample is designed to be representative at provincial level and within provinces at metro/non-metro levels. Within the metros, the sample is further distributed by geographical type. The three geography types are:urban, tribal and farms. This implies, for example, that within a metropolitan area, the sample is representative of the different geography types that may exist within that metro. It is divided equally into four sub-groups or panels called rotation groups. The rotation groups are designed in such a way that each of these groups has the same distribution pattern as that which is observed in the whole sample. They are numbered from one (1) to four (4) and these numbers also correspond to the quarters of the year in which the sample will be rotated for the particular group.
There are a number of aspects in which the 2013 version of the master sample differs from the 2007 version. In particular, the number of primary sample units increased. Mining strata were also introduced which serves to improve the efficiency of estimates relating to employment in mining. The number of geo-types was reduced from 4 to 3 while the new master sample allows for the publication of estimates of the labour market at metro level. The master sample was also adjusted Given the change in the provincial distribution of the South African population between 2001 and 2011. There was also an 8% increase in the sample size of the master sample of PSUs to improve the precision of the QLFS estimates. The sample size increased most notable in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. For more details on the differences between the two master samples please consult the section 8 (technical notes) of the QLFS 2015 Q3 release document (P0211).
From the master sample frame, the QLFS takes draws exmploying a stratified two-stage design with probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling of PSUs in the first stage, and sampling of dwelling units (DUs) with systematic sampling in the second stage. The primary stratification occurred at provincial, metro/non-metro, mining and geography type while the secondary strata were created within the primary strata based on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population.
For each quarter of the QLFS, a ¼ of the sampled dwellings is rotated out of the sample. These dwellings are replaced by new dwellings from the same PSU or the next PSU on the list. Thus, sampled dwellings are expected to remain in the sample for four consecutive quarters. It should be noted that the sampling unit is the dwelling, and the unit of observation is the household. Therefore, if a household moves out of a dwelling after being in the sample for, two quarters and a new household moves in, the new household will be enumerated for the next two quarters. If no household moves into the sampled dwelling, the dwelling will be classified as vacant (or unoccupied).
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
Public use data, available to all
Statistics South Africa. Quarterly Labour Force Survey 2017: Q4 [dataset]. Version 1.0. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2018. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2018.
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.
Copyright, Statistics South Africa
DDI Document ID
University of Cape Town
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (May 2018). Identical to DataFirst zaf-statssa-qlfs-2017-q4-v1.0 DDI except DDI and Survey IDs.