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Comparison of Iraqi labour force statistics

Pål Sletten and Louay H. Rashid

Fafo-paper 2005:17

Web edition The Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT), formerly the Central Statistical Office, has produced four main sources for statistics on the Iraqi labour market: The 1997 Census; The Labour force survey, October 2003 round; The Iraq Living Conditions Survey (ILCS) April/May 2004; and The Labour force survey, July 2004 round. This paper compares the labour market statistics from these sources, and analyses the discrepancies between the results. While the Labour force surveys find unemployment rates of 28.1 per cent (October 2003) and 26.8 per cent (July 2004), ILCS finds it to be 10.5 per cent (April/May 2004).

The paper presents the design and questionnaires used for the surveys. The discrepancies can be explained by differences in the definition of unemployment, and in the sequencing of questions in the questionnaires. The Labour force surveys correspond to what was used in previous years, and makes comparisons with the 1997 possible. ILCS is closer to the ILO standards, and makes international comparisons possible.

Published: 2005 Id-nr.: 776