Nowcasting register labour force participation rates in municipal districts using survey data

Jan van den Brakel, John Michiels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the Netherlands, very precise and detailed statistical information on labour forceparticipation is derived from registers. A drawback of this data source is that it is not timelysince definitive versions typically become available with a delay of two years. More timelyinformation on labour force participation can be derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).Quarterly figures, for example, become available six weeks after the calendar quarter. A well-known drawback of this data source is the uncertainty due to sampling error. In this article, anowcast method is proposed to produce preliminary but timely nowcasts for the registerlabour force participation on a quarterly frequency at the level of municipalities andneighbourhoods, using the data from the LFS. As a first step, small area estimates for quarterlymunicipal figures on labour force participation are obtained using the LFS data and the unit-level modelling approach of Battese, Harter and Fuller (1988). Subsequently, time series ofthese small area estimates at the municipal level are combined with time series on registerlabour force participation in a bivariate structural time series model in order to nowcast theregister labour force participation at the level of municipalities and neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1045
JournalJournal of Official Statistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • small area estimation
  • unit-level model
  • survey sampling
  • register-based statistics
  • data integration

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