The Measurement of Job Search and Unemployment in a Retrospective Setting - ARCHIVED

Articles and reports: 75F0002M1992004


The accurate measurement of job search and unemployment has been a recurring problem in retrospective surveys. However, strategies to improve recall in such surveys have not been especially successful. Proposed solutions have included a) reducing the recall period and b) questioning whether the standard operationalization of labour force concepts is appropriate in a retrospective setting.

One difficulty in arriving at an appropriate line of questioning is that there does not exist a reliable benchmark source indicating what sort of search patterns one should be observing over the year. Current notions of labour force dynamics have been heavily influenced by linked-record gross change data, which for various reasons cannot be considered a reliable source. These data show numerous changes in status from month-to-month and generally paint a picture of labour force participation that suggests little behavioural consistency.

This study examines data from the Annual Work Patterns Survey (AWPS) and Labour Market Activity Survey (LMAS). It shows that the underreporting of job search in the AWPS (and to a lesser extent in the LMAS) is closely connected to the failure of respondents, in a significant number of cases, to report any job search prior to the start of a job, a problem for which there is a simple questionnaire solution.

Issue Number: 1992004
Author(s): Lemaître, George
FormatRelease dateMore information
PDFFebruary 29, 2008