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The Economically Active Population Survey (EAPS) offers quarterly and annual data on the labour market in Spain.
The main characteristics measured by the survey are the following:
Employment according to demographic variables (sex, age, nationality, marital status, education), professional status, underemployment, working hours, type of working day, type of contract, having more than one job, etc.
Unemployment according to demographic variables, characteristics of the previous job, search methods, search duration, etc.
Quarterly information as well as average annual information is provided for these variables.
Besides the aforementioned information, there is an annual publication of information regarding ‘sub-sample variables’: studies sector, specific work conditions (shifts, weekend jobs, persons who work in the establishment, supervision responsibilities etc) and the characteristics of the last job of the unemployed persons with previous professional experience.
From 2009, the survey incorporated the salary decile of the main job as an additional sub-sample variable, coming from the link between the selected sample and administrative sources of the social security and fiscal administration (Spanish Tax Administration Agency, Treasury of Comunidad Foral de Navarra via the Statistics Institute of Navarra).
Different types of supplementary information is also provided, however, it is specifically worth mentioning the different annual modules added to the survey since 1999.
All categories of CNAE, NCO and NCE are covered.
Main family dwellings, within the national territory and persons residing in them.
It includes the set of main family dwellings within the national territory as well as all persons residing in them.
It therefore does not include group households, since the persons who live in a group household and are linked with a private household are indeed considered part of the statistical population.
Foreigners are included if they are going to live in Spain for over a year (except persons in the military or foreign diplomats).
As per the survey, all statistical units located within the territory of the Spanish state, are object of research.
Data are provided at national, regional or provincial level.
The Economically Active Population Survey of Spain was first published in 1964, and it referred to some quarters of each year up to 1968. Between 1969 and 1974 it was six-monthly and from 1975 it was quarterly. In 1999 the survey was redesigned as a continuous survey that would provide quarterly results. Since 2005, besides the quarterly results and annual averages of the four quarters, the survey also offers annual results of structural variables analysed in a sub-sample of the survey, distributed throughout the entire year.
Quarterly results are available electronically since 1976 in the ’Main Results’ section of the survey and in the ‘Detailed Results’ section since 1987.
The last great methodological change ocurred in the first quarter of 2002, when the interpretation of the concept "active search of employment" changed.
Most of the published data are presented in absolute values and are measured in thousands (people or hours) except those related to average number of hours, that are measured in hours, and those related to wages, measured in euros.
Data are also published on percentages and rates.
1. Reference period for publishing survey results: Quarters and years (annual averages, sub-sample variables and ad hoc modules).
2. Reference period for information collection: The EAPS measures a person's situation during the reference week (that is, the week prior to the theoretical week of the interview). Nevertheless, some questions have special reference periods, such as:
-The search methods, the special features of the working day as well as those of the current studies, which refer to the four weeks prior to the interview.
- Availability to work, which refers to the two weeks after Sunday of the reference week.
- The age of the interviewee or the registration in the employment office, which refer to Sunday of the reference week.
Data referred to the period: Trimestral A: 2021 TRI: I
The compilation and dissemination of the data are governed by the Statistical Law No. 12/1989 "Public Statistical Function" of May 9, 1989, and Law No. 4/1990 of June 29 on “National Budget of State for the year 1990" amended by Law No. 13/1996 "Fiscal, administrative and social measures" of December 30, 1996, makes compulsory all statistics included in the National Statistics Plan. The National Statistical Plan 2009-2012 was approved by the Royal Decree 1663/2008. It contains the statistics that must be developed in the four year period by the State General Administration's services or any other entity dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistics Plan are statistics for state purposes and are obligatory. The National Statistics Plan 2017-2020, approved by Royal Decree 410/2016, of 31 October, is the Plan currently implemented. This statistical operation has governmental purposes, and it is included in the National Statistics Plan 2017-2020. (Statistics of the State Administration).
The Economically Active Population Survey, which provides information for the European Union Labour Force Survey (LFS), is subject to union regulations that rule the LFS. Currently, the most relevant are the following:
- European Council and Parliament Regulation no. 577/1998 and regulations that modify it, among which are Reg. 2257/2003 which includes the sub-sample variables and Reg. 1372/2007 which states it is compulsory to provide information on the income of the main job.
- European Commission Regulations: Reg. 377/2008 which establishes the list of variables to be provided for the LFS from 2009 (particularly, information on the income of the main job is provided as a decile and it is one of the sub-sample variables) and Reg. 1897/2000 which establishes the operational criteria for the definition of unemployment.
Regarding the ‘wages’ variable, its information is obtained from administrative registers coming from the General Treasury of the Social Security, Spanish Tax Administration Agency and the Treasury of Comunidad Foral de Navarra.
The need to provide information on the ‘wages’ variable is included in the European Parliament and Council Regulation 2007/1372, of October 23 2007.
The direct identification data is not saved with the statistical information after the data collection stage.
Data frequency is doubled: quarterly for the most of the variables and annual for the group of sub-sample variables and ad-hoc modules. Therefore dissemination frequency is quarterly and annual.
The following sections are available on the INE website, within the section dedicated to the EAPS:
- Last data, which contains the last press release, deseasonalised variation rates and the data dissemination calendar.
- Results, with the following sub-sections:
Quarterly results which include:
- National results broken down by population, economically active persons, employed persons, unemployed persons, economically inactive persons and households.
- Results by Autonomous Communities broken down by population, economically active persons, employed persons, unemployed persons and economically inactive persons.
- Results by province broken down by population, economically active persons, employed persons and economically inactive persons.
- Other results, which include various results with National Classification of Occupations 1994 (CNO 94), others with National Classification of Economic Activities 1993 (CNAE 93) and retrospective tables by nationality.
- Sampling errors and assessment of results
Annual results which include:
- Averages of the four quarters of each year calculated for the population, economically active persons, employed persons, unemployed persons and economically inactive persons; all at national level and also calculated for a selection of tables by Autonomous Community. They also include various results with National Classification of Occupations 1994 (CNO 94), others with National Classification of Economic Activities 1993 (CNAE 93) and retrospective tables by nationality. Information regarding sampling errors is also published.
- Sub-sample variables with the results of this type of variables classified by sections:
Education and training
Professional experience and job search
Persons who have changed their residence 1 year ago
- Wage decile of the main job including results on the wage decile and the approximate calculation of the average wage.
Special Modules with information on modules from 1999 to 2012.
Analysis and study which include:
- Assessment of the EAPS quality
- Comparison of employment and unemployment data
- Classification link. Retrospective occupation and economic activity tables
- Effect of EAPS changes since 2005
- Re-estimation of the unemployment series according to the 2002 EAPS definition.
- Revision of the effect of the new 2001 unemployment definition
- Other studies among which there are: the updating of the 1995-1996 section, the analysis of the 2005 EAPS effects, coherence of NC-EAPS employment estimates and the EURAREA Project regarding the estimation in small areas.
-Methodology, which contains:
Standardised metadata report
File on the Inventory of the Statistical Operation
Document on the description of the survey
Document on the design and assessment of the data quality
Other methodologies (of the sub-sample variables of the wage decile, of the special modules)
-Publications, which contains:
Catalogue of publications
INE Figures Leaflets
-Links, which contains links to:
Other sections in INEbase (Statistics on the flows of the Economically Active Population and projections on economic activity rates)
European data on the European Community Labour Force Survey.
INEbase is the system the INE uses to store statistical information on the Internet. It contains all the information the INE produces in electronic formats. The primary organisation of the information follows the theme-based classification of the Inventory of Statistical Operations of the State General Administration . The basic unit of INEbase is the statistical operation, defined as the set of activities that lead to obtaining statistical results on a determined sector or subject based on the individually collected data. Also included in the scope of this definition are synthesis preparation.
According to the structure detailed in the “Results” section of the previous point (10.2 Publications) every quarter the number of employed persons, unemployed persons, economically inactive persons and the economic activity rate etc., are published. They are: (1) broken down at national, regional (Autonomous Community) and province level, and the rest of variables included in the EAPS questionnaire, (2) Information on sampling errors and non-sampling errors, (3) data series prior to 2005.
There is also publishing of annual data for the reference year for the main indicators that are shown in the aforementioned quarterly series and the information on sampling errors and non-sampling errors.
In the “Annual results ", there are specific results regarding sub-sample variables, including the tables of the main occupation decile.
The indicator associated with the number of data table consultations in 2019 is AC1=1,634,593.
It is possible to request customised information from the INE Information Area. When processing these requests, limitations regarding confidentiality or accuracy are taken into account.
The website of the Economically Active Population Survey provides a detailed description of the methods and concepts used as well as other documents related with the survey. Specifically, there is a documento that includes all the changes for 2021 in the Methodology section.
A report that assesses the quality of the EAPS data is published annually. It provides information on the obtained response rate, sampling errors of the estimates as well as results of the repeated EAPS survey which analyses the quality of the information obtained in the interview.
Annual quality reports regarding the EAPS as a source of the LFS of Spain are compiled for Eurostat. A report on the quality of the LFS is presented to the European Parliament every three years. The reference year of the last one is 2017. Sections 10.6 to 17 of this document are the user-oriented quality report for this operation.
Quality assurance framework for the INE statistics is based on the ESSCoP, the European Statistics Code of Practice made by EUROSTAT. The ESSCoP is made up of 16 principles, gathered in three areas: Institutional Environment, Processes and Products. Each principle is associated with some indicators which make possible to measure it. In order to evaluate quality, EUROSTAT provides different tools: the indicators mentioned above, Self-assessment based on the DESAP model, peer review, user satisfaction surveys and other proceedings for evaluation.
The EAPS is designed to assure a continuous assessment of the data quality. The control of invalid values on the online questionnaire, supervision and checking field work, the repeated survey performed on part of the interviewees are examples of permanent monitoring of the information flow.
The errors detected in the centralised processing of information are included in a report every quarter. This report is sent to the different collection centres so that they have accurate indications on the mistakes that were made.
The Economically Active Population Survey is regarded to be of a great quality. Its sampling size allows offering indicators up to provincial level within reasonable sampling errors. The harmonised methodology that is used, allows reliable comparisons at an international level and gives an extremely valuable, linked and integrated measure on the labour market, including socio-demographic information (educational level, type of household) that no other statistical source provides with such conceptual detail.
The statistical information on the EAPS labour market may be compared with the other important sources on employment and unemployment coming from administrative registers (social security affiliation, public employment offices, company results). See section Comparison of employment and unemployment data.
Regarding the limitations of the survey, it is important to point out those that are inherent to the statistical operations by sampling, such as non-response and the previously mentioned sampling errors or variation coefficients of the estimates. In both cases, they remain within reasonable limits. Detailed information on sampling errors is offered periodically in the result tables published in INEBASE as well as periodic reports on the quality assessment of the survey
Among the users of the survey, the following are worth mentioning:·
Ministries (Economy, Employment, Education, etc.) and other public organisations (Bank of Spain., Economic and Social Council, observatories, etc.)
Territorial administrations (Autonomous Communities, Provincial Council, City Councils)
Researchers and academic world
Non-profit companies and institutions (Company research services, foundations, associations, etc.), trade unions and employers' organisations.
Press and specialised media
Whether through the link of the EAPS with the LFS or directly, there is a large number of foreign institutions and individuals who use it. Some of the most important are Eurostat, OECD, United Nations, IMF, etc.
The different users have a wide range of needs, which go from knowing the general evolution of the labour market (integration, labour market segmentation, etc.) to specific topics of interest (equality between women and men, educational indicators, etc.).
Maintaining homogeneous series and measuring the effect of the changes in the survey are other aspects that are highly requested by users.
The INE has carried out general user satisfaction surveys in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 and it plans to continue doing so every three years. The purpose of these surveys is to find out what users think about the quality of the information of the INE statistics and the extent to which their needs of information are covered. In addition, additional surveys are carried out in order to acknowledge better other fields such as dissemination of the information, quality of some publications...
On the INE website, in its section Methods and Projects / Quality and Code of Practice / INE quality management / User surveys are available surveys conducted to date.(Click next link)
There is no specific EAPS user satisfaction survey, however, the User Satisfaction Survey (USS) does indicate the satisfaction level of the labour market user group.
Data requests of the EAPS are treated occasionally and are practically completely satisfied in time and shape, providing the sample allows the requested breakdowns.
The EAPS satisfies all the requirements established in the national and international regulation regarding labour market statistics addressed to households.
The Economically Active Population Survey is included in the European Union Labour Force Survey, which is ruled by the Regulations no. 577/98 of 9 March 1998 and no. 2257/2003 of 25 November 2003 and by Comission regulations no. 1897/2000 of 7 September 2000 and 430/2005 of 15 March 2005. It also complies with the regulations corresponding to the annual ad-hoc modules
To sum up, the survey provides all the information required by the regulations, therefore the rate of available compulsory results R1=100%.
The INE publishes the reports that allow assessing the users' problems associated with the errors that occur during the statistical process, such as field work incidences, the response rate, the evaluation of the interviewers, the results of the evaluation survey, etc. For further information see “Standard quality report of the product - Quality assessment – Accuracy” and also see “EAPS quality assessment” .
Usually due to the intrinsic characteristics of the EAPS, there is less response regarding the groups that are most difficult to find in a permanent dwelling. Hence, for example, the sample of elderly persons is overrepresented in the sample; there is a higher response of persons with Spanish nationality than those of a foreign nationality, etc. The application of calibration techniques since 2005 has solved this problem greatly.
The variation coefficients of the main variables are disseminated in the survey publication and in the corresponding quality reports.
The sampling error indicator refered to the estimates of the fourth quarter of 2019 is:
A1(Employed persons)=0.29%, A1(Unemployed persons)=1.23%, A1(Inactive persons)=0.19%
For further details, see the item regarding sampling errors within the Results section of theEAPS website .
The unit non-response rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 is A4=15.74%
For more information regarding the assessment of non-sampling errors, the user is referred to the aforementioned annual assessment report of the survey.
The data is published the month after the reference quarter, therefore the time that elapses from the reference period to the publication of the figures is 23 to 30 days.
The indicator of the time lag of the final results is TP2=23 to 30 days.
Survey results are published in accordance with the short-term statistics publication calendar of the INE
Therefore, the indicator of punctuality of data delivery is TP3=The publication calendar is fulfilled.
The use of definitions from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the strict application of definitions and concepts of the European Union Labour Force Survey, which is collected in the regulations, allows to compare the EAPS results by Autonomous Communities and by Provinces with those of similar surveys in other countries.
The Spanish EAPS was carried out in the second quarter of 1964 for the first time. Up to the second quarter of 1976, the survey underwent different changes (in design, periodicity,...). There was a break in the series between the second and third quarters of 1976. From 1964 to the second quarter of 1976 only hard copies of the documents are available.
From the third quarter of 1976, the main indicators may be considered homogeneous since the basic methodological history has been the same despite the changes occurred in the survey throughout more than 40 years. Furthermore, links for the main variables have been provided when the implemented methodological changes have produced breaks in the series.
In particular, for the 'Total Employment' series, data is comparable since its beginning, on the third quarter of 1976.
For the following series: 'Total Unemployment', 'Total Active Population' and 'Total Inactive Population', due to the change in the definition of unemployment that took place in the Survey in 2001, data is comparable since the first quarter of this year (2001).
Therefore, the indicator of length of comparable time series for the fourth quarter of 2019 is:
CC2(employed persons)=174, CC2(unemployed persons)=76, CC2(active persons)=76, CC2(inactive persons)=76.
INE Internet databases disseminate the quarterly series from the third quarter of 1976.
The EAPS follows the concepts and definitions established by the International Labour Organization and the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat). There are other sources of information on the labour market in Spain, such as workers' affiliation to Social Security or the number of unemployed persons registered in public employment services, which allow offering alternative estimates of employment and unemployment, respectively. The results of these sources, which have an administrative origin, are different from the results obtained from the EAPS, as a consequence of their different nature and the methodology applied in each case.
Nevertheless, employment estimates are generally consistent with the data in the social security registers once the differences between both sources are taken into account. EAPS estimates usually offer a greater level of employed persons. This is coherent with the concepts applied in the survey, given employment in the EAPS is intended to be measured exhaustively (having worked one hour during the reference week is enough to be classified as an employed person), however not all persons who have worked few hours are affiliated to Social Security.
The methodological change in 2005 improved the measurement of jobs for few hours a week. This increased the estimate of the number of employed persons.
The comparison between the figures of registered unemployment and estimated unemployment by the survey provides a similar pattern of their evolution over time but also shows considerable discrepancies in the total estimates.
These discrepancies are mainly due to the different definitions associated with registered unemployment (Ministerial Order of 11 March 1985 - Official State Gazette 3/14/85) and EAPS unemployment (ILO Definitions and concepts / Eurostat).
For further details, users shall check the Comparison of employment and unemployment data section
The use of various results provided by the different statistical sources does not indicate a coherence problem, but presents measurements of reality from different points of view.
The estimates of the “Main EAPS indicators" have complete internal coherence, since they are based on the same microdata set and are calculated using the same estimation methods.
The annual results are calculated as the average of the quarterly results, therefore they are totally consistent.
Regarding the annual subsample variables, the data is re-weighted in order to guarantee the coherence of the main indicators that are obtained as the quarterly average of employed, unemployed and economically active persons by age group and sex (see annex 1 of Reg. 430/2005). The total figures of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and foreign population at NUTS2 level (Autonomous Communities) are also coherent with the quarterly averages in Spain.
In the 2021 annual Program, the estimate of the necessary budget appropriation to finance this statistical operation is 10,876.39 thousand euros.
The average duration of the interviews performed in a household is 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of interview (only with quarterly variables or with structural variables as well) and the interview method (personal or telephone).
The INE of Spain has a policy which regulates the basic aspects of statistical data revision, seeking to ensure process transparency and product quality. This policy is laid out in the document approved by the INE board of directors on 13 March of 2015, which is available on the INE website, in the section "Methods and projects/Quality and Code of Practice/INE’s Quality management/INE’s Revision policy" (link).
This general policy sets the criteria that the different type of revisions should follow: routine revision- it is the case of statistics whose production process includes regular revisions-; more extensive revision- when methodological or basic reference source changes take place-; and exceptional revision- for instance, when an error appears in a published statistic-.
The data are final when they are published for the first time and are not subject to revision.
EAPS data is final from the moment they are officially published.
If errors are detected and the data shall be modified, an explanatory note is added to the information in order to inform users that the data has been changed. When possible, the users are directly informed about these errors.
Tea Economically Active Population Survey covers the entire national territory and approximately 99% of the population. The survey is addressed to family dwellings, and therefore does not include persons who live in group households (hotels, convents, prisons, etc.) The survey is carried continuously, at the rate of 5,000 interviews a week. The sample contains 65,000 dwellings per quarter and approximately 180,000 persons, that is, 0.4% of the population. The Economically Active Population Survey follows the ILO methodology.
Sample size and design: The sample comprises 65,000 families interviewed each quarter - 0.4% of the sampling fraction. The final sample unit is the postal address of the dwelling.
Sample framework: The sample framework is the list of 32,000 census areas (or sections), into which Spain is divided for statistical and electoral purposes, and the list of postal addresses of each section. Each census section is a piece of well-defined land with perfectly delimited borders. The maximum size of each section is 2,000 voters. The sample is made up of 3,822 sections and an average of 18 households per section (22 in large provinces).
Updating method of the sample framework: A complete update is carried out (every ten years) when the information on the last population census is available. A partial update with the information on the electoral census is carried every two years.
Rotation system: 1/6 of the dwellings are changed each quarter. The section is updated before the new dwellings are selected. The overlap of two consecutive quarters is 5/6 and between the same quarters of two consecutive years it is 2/6. A family is interviewed for six consecutive quarters at the most.
The EAPS is a continuous quarterly survey.
Data collection: The first EAPS interview is a personal interview. The second and subsequent interviews are telephone interviews, except if it is not possible or the dwelling prefers a personal interview. All interviews are carried out with a laptop or personal computer. Since 2005, the CATI system is used for subsequent interviews. Since 2020 it is allowed to carry out the survey via Internet or CAWI system.
Survey organisation: There are 52 provincial offices throughout Spain, which have permanent personnel that carry out the work regarding the personal interviews performed in that territory. There are also seven centres in which computer assisted telephone interviewing is carried out, which cover all the sample in subsequent interviews. The information available in each provincial office or telephone interviewing centre is sent to to the central office in Madrid every week. In the Autonomous Community of Galicia, field work is shared with the Galician Statistics Institute (IGE).
Duration of field work: Most interviews are performed during the week after the reference week. There is a maximum period of six week to obtain information from absent households.
A filtering system is used for data entry in which errors or inconsistencies are detected. Afterwards, a second filtering process is applied to each collection centre and lastly, a centralised filtering is carried out in which the errors detected in the main variables are corrected manually and the rest of variables are filtered automatically.
Up to the year 2001 ratio estimators were used, taking the population resident in main family dwellings as the auxiliary variable, subtracted from the "Current Population Estimates" (nowcasts, based on the census data as well as the vital and migration statistics) compiled by the National Statistics Institute.
Since 2002, re-weighting techniques are applied to the ratio estimators so as to adjust the estimates of the survey to the information coming from external sources.
The auxiliary variables used as external sources from that moment on are:
- Population 16 years of age or over, by age and sex groups, at Autonomous Community level (22 groups).
- Population 16 years of age or over by province
- Population under 16 years of age, by age and sex groups at Autonomous Community (6 groups).
- Population under 16 years of age by province
From 2005, the following is added to these auxiliary variables:
- Population 16 years of age or over by Spanish of foreign nationality at Autonomous Community level.
Since 2014 the following variables are added to the re-weighting:
- Households by size at Autonomous Community level (5 groups)
- Population 16 years of age or over, by age and sex groups, at province level (6 groups).
Since 2021 the changes in the auxiliary variables are the following:
- For the total population by age and sex groups at Autonomous Community level, there are still 28 groups, but in this case 15-year-olds become part of the 16 to 19 group, for both sex, instead of belonging to the 10 to 14 group, as until 2020.
- By Spanish and foreign nationality at Autonomous Community level, the population of 15 and over will be considered instead of that of 16 and over, as until 2020.
- For the total population by age and sex groups by province, there are still 8 groups, but in this case 15-year-olds become part of the 16 to 29 group, for both sex, instead of 0 to 14, as until 2020.
Regarding the treatment of incidences, refusals in the first interview are substituted by other dwellings of the same section. In the second and subsequent interviews, refusals, absentees and inaccessibles are imputed by assigning them the information they provided in the previous interview.
Seasonal adjustments: They started to be applied from the first quarter of 2013 for the employed persons and unemployed persons series.Metadatos desestacionalizacion 2021_EN.xls