Spain - Labor Force

Spain: Labor Force

Mnemonic LBF.IESP
Unit Ths. #, SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Quarterly 0.2 %
Data 2022 Q4 23,390
2022 Q3 23,437

Series Information

Source National Institute of Statistics (INE)
Release Economically Active Population Survey (EAPS) [status and employment by industry]
Frequency Quarterly
Start Date 9/30/1976
End Date 12/31/2022

Spain: Labor

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Agriculture Employment 2022 Q4 753.2 729 Ths. #, NSA Quarterly
Labor Force 2022 Q4 23,390 23,437 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Labor Force Employment 2022 Q4 20,356 20,468 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Unemployment 2022 Q4 3,033 2,968 Ths. #, SA Quarterly
Unemployment Rate 2022 Q4 12.97 12.67 %, SA Quarterly
Wage & Salaries 2022 Q4 159,562 157,277 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly

Release Information

For Spain, the labor force statistics come from the Economically Active Population Survey (EAPS), a continuous quarterly survey that targets households. The main objective of the EAPS is to reveal information on economic activities as regards their human component.

The survey provides information on employment, unemployment, underemployment, hours of work, monthly household income, duration of employment and duration of unemployment, discouraged and occasional workers, industry, occupation, status in employment (occupational category) and level of education/qualifications. The theoretical sample varies from 65,000 households per quarter, to approximately 60,000 actually interviewed households, which implies approximately 180,000 people.


  • Industry classification: CNAE-2009
  • Measurements:
    • Thousands of persons (Ths. #)
    • Thousands of households (Ths. #)
    • Percent (%)
  • Adjustment: Not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
  • Native frequency: Quarterly
  • Start date: As early as 1976Q3
  • Geo coverage:
    • Country
    • Autonomous communities (IESP_^^)


  • CNAE-1993

The source writes:

The population living in family dwellings used throughout the year or most of the year as their usual or permanent residence.

The survey is based entirely on the "national" as opposed to the "internal" concept, and therefore includes:

  1. Spaniards resident in Spain,
  2. Spanish civilians abroad for a period of less than one year (frontier workers, temporary workers, tourists, students, etc.),
  3. Foreign civilians established in Spain for more than one year;and, by agreement:
  4. Spanish members of the armed forces and diplomats working as such outside Spain, irrespective of the time spent outside Spain,
  5. Crews of ships and aircraft operated by entities resident in Spain,
  6. Spanish staff of national scientific bases abroad.

Excluded are:

  1. Foreign civilians in Spain for under one year,
  2. Foreign members of armed forces and diplomats, working as such in Spain,
  3. Foreign staff of foreign scientific bases established on Spanish territory.

The survey excludes persons living in collective households (hospitals, hotels, orphanages, barracks, convents, etc.) but includes families forming an independent group who live in those establishments, such as the families of the directors of the centers, or of custodians and porters. Furthermore, not all the population living in collective households is excluded: young men doing their compulsory military service, pupils in boarding schools, patients in sanatoria and detainees in prisons are included in the households from which they come, as their family give information on them. However, these categories are sometimes underestimated, either because their family ties are no longer very strong or because they are not declared to the interviewer.

The economically active population comprises persons aged 16 years or over forming:

  • the armed forces, i.e., the army (career members) and the Civil Guard;
  • the civilian economically active population, comprising the rest of the labor force.

Reference period for the information: the week (Monday to Sunday) just before the interview according to the calendar. The answers to the questionnaire will, therefore, always refer to said week. Since the third quarter 1975 the survey has been continuous and the reference period of the final information obtained is the quarter. From 1964 until the first half-year of 1975 it was carried out half-yearly.

Data are collected by personal interview of the members of the selected households by a permanent team of 262 interviewers who are responsible to the INE's Provincial Delegations. There is one head of group for every three interviewers, and in each province a specialist official who supervises all the work done. Each interviewer has to carry out 20 interviews weekly, that is, to interview 20 households situated in the same census section. In this way about 5,000 households are interviewed every week, so that all the 60,000 dwellings constituting the total sample are interviewed by the end of the 12 weeks of the quarter. The results obtained are for a mean week of the quarter.

The EPA is continuous, being interrupted only during August, when the interviewers are on holiday.



The methodology of the survey is modified in 2005 due to various reasons: the need for it to adapt to the new demographic and labour reality of our country, due mainly to the increase in the number of foreign residents; the incorporation of new European regulations in accordance with the norms of the European Union Statistical Office (EUROSTAT); and finally, the introduction of improvements in the collection method.

Finally, the population base used as of the first quarter of 2005 (population base of the 2001 census) is the same as that used to calculate the 1996-2004 series (revised on March 30th 2005), thus guaranteeing the continuity of the series.


Starting in 2021, the source methodology for the EAPS has changed slightly, leading to a break in framework of these series. The source wrote (citation):

"Since that the Economically Active Population Survey (EPAS) is the operation that collects the information necessary for the variables required in the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the necessary adaptations have been made to respond to the new 2021 information requirements... Notable examples include the homogeneous distribution of the quarterly sample both by reference months and weeks and by territories, the use of electronic questionnaires, the general technique used in the question flow to determine the relationship with the activity, and the deadlines for providing the information (ten weeks after the end of the reference period, while in the EPAS, results are obtained after 4 weeks). "

Moody's Analytics supplements

For the quarterly unemployment and labor force, we compute seasonally adjusted counterparts, using the X-13ARIMA-SEATS program. Then, we calculate seasonally adjusted labor force and unemployment rate as identities.