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Employment status

Codes and Frequencies

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EMPSTAT reports the employment status of the respondent. This variable reflects attachment to the labor market. People who are retired, students, seeking work or looking after family but who work at least some hours should be coded as working part time. Category 4 ("Not in paid work") should mean no attachment to the labor force (unemployed, retired, homemaker, attending school, on maternity leave, or disability leave).

Users may also be interested in EMP which reports whether or not the respondent was employed or self-employed (i.e. had a paid job) during the week prior to the survey (or period of the reference in the questionnaire). UNEMP reports whether or not respondent was unemployed. STUDENT reports whether or not respondent was a student and RETIRED if respondent was retired. EMPSP indicates the employment status of the spouse or partner for those respondents in a couple.

WORKHRS provides information on the number of paid hours of work reported during the week prior to the survey including any overtime while EMPINCLM reports the monthly employment income.

Comparability — Index

South Africa
South Korea


EMPSTAT is not comparable across all samples, please see below.

Comparability — Canada [top]

In 2005, this variable was constructed from the labour force status variable (LFSGSS), and the main activity in past 7 days variable (ACT7DAYS). Those who reported their labour force status as working full-time or part-time and student working full time or part time were coded as employed. We created the original variable using the labour force status of the respondent and adjusted for the main activities carried out the last week. Similarly, EMP, UNEMP, STUDENT and RETIRED, we use the ACT7DAYS variables and make adjustment using the LFGSS information. Noted this variable have some contradictory information that we have adjusted in order to take all the information provided for this two variables to get the most accurate results.

In 2010, this variable was constructed from first the labor force status variable, labor status of the household, to weed out students whether they do full-time or part-time jobs, and the main activity in past 7 days . Those who reported their labor force status as working full-time or part-time and who were looking for job were coded as employed. Among those who reported themselves retired but working full time and part-time were also recoded as employed. So were to those who reported their status as household work, other, not stated, and don't know but also reported part-time or full-time jobs in activities within the last 7 days. Students with part-time and full time jobs were also coded as employed depending on LFSHSD12 variable. Those coded as ="not stated" in LFSHSD12 but full- or part-time employed students by LFSGSS were coded as EMPSTAT=3. Some people even though they are coded into not in a paid job, have reported working hours during the diary day, those were coded as EMPSTAT=3. As a reverse those who did not report working hours (WORKHRS=-7) were recoded as EMPSTAT=4.

Comparability — Finland [top]

In 1979, EMP, STUDENT, and RETIRED are mutually exclusive - a person can be coded only as one of the three. The original employment variable asked respondents to choose from one of the following: "employed", "unemployed", "student", "chronic disability/illness", "pensioner otherwise", "homemaker" or "other".

Comparability — Italy [top]

In 2002, there are 33 students, 38 retired and 32 unemployed people with positive working hours. These respondents have been coded as employed. They are coded asEMP = 1 and EMPSTAT = 3. It is not known if they work full-time or part-time hours.

Comparability — Netherlands [top]

In the Netherland samples, the respondents who report working 30 hours or less are coded as part-time employed. The original variable with information on the number of hours worked per week was categorical.

Comparability — South Africa [top]

In the South Africa 2010 sample, note that this variable does not give information regarding working time. Please consult the variable WORKHRS..

Comparability — South Korea [top]

In 2009, only respondents who are employed reported whether they are full-time or part time. We used minimum 30 hours per week as threshold for full-time, self-employed and others, as in other countries. Note that in Korea, the employee is defined as part-time if their working hours is shorter than the regular fulltime workers (even by 1 hour), thus this can be longer than 30 hours per week if self-employed.


  • All persons.


  • Austria: 1992
  • Bulgaria: 2001
  • Canada: 2005, 2010
  • Finland: 1979, 2009
  • France: 1985, 2009
  • Hungary: 1999, 2009
  • Israel: 1991
  • Italy: 2002, 2008
  • Netherlands: 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005
  • South Africa: 2000, 2010
  • South Korea: 2009
  • Spain: 2002, 2009
  • United Kingdom: 1974, 1983, 1987, 2000, 2014
  • United States: 1965, 1975, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2003-2018