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The Liberia Labour Force Survey




Liberia has long mounted a search for concrete and reliable data on the labour market that will serveas tools for policy formulation and development of the labour force. The absence of such information has led to a series of misunderstandings about labour market indicators such as employment and

Consequently, the results of this Labour Force Survey (LFS) have realized a long‐standing desire for reliable data on the labour market that will dispel rumours, misconceptions and misinterpretations of employment, unemployment and other labour market indicators. The data will assist government, development partners and data users in planning, decision making and developing policies intended to improve the welfare of the labour force.

Productive and decent employment for all segments of the labour force is a national agenda. It is enshrined in the Economic Revitalization Pillar of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (Lift Liberia) and the National Employment Policy. These documents spell out government’s strategies, programmes and activities in addressing problems affecting the labour force, and the results of the LFS tell us where our emphasis should be directed.

The beginning of this process was difficult and challenging. Resource gaps on account of the global economic crisis to some extent hampered timely implementation of the survey. Though two studies (Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire and the National Population and Housing Census) preceded the LFS implementation, the questions they asked on employment were insufficient to provide detailed and comprehensive accounts of the activities of the labour force. However, they laid the foundation for the implementation of a fully‐fledged LFS to determine actual labour market data.

In preparation for the LFS in Liberia, we had acquired knowledge and expertise about best practice from other nations and from international organizations. Statistics South Africa, with experience in LFS implementation, and the World Bank GDDS (General Data Dissemination System) programmes provided training to a team of technicians as well as documentation. The ILO provided overall
technical support for the project which included LFS design, staff training,  results analysis and report writing. ILO, USAID, UNDP, UNICEF and GOL provided financial support for the conduct of the survey. The results could not have been achieved without the inputs of these actors.

The LFS formulation considers all of the labour market variables relevant to a developing nation like Liberia. Among them, the issue of the informal sector which has become the leading employment sector in Liberia was critically analyzed as well as underemployment and vulnerable employment. These variables have given us the direction to critically analyse and reform those issues affecting the growth of our labour force in order to improve their employability and standard of living.

While government will continue to support efforts to update our labour market information on a regular basis, we cannot fully succeed without the inputs of our development partners. Let this effort continue so that our labour market information can be current and a source of reference for all data users.

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