Concerns have been raised with the Authority about the Scottish Government’s choice to highlight Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates of the youth unemployment rate, rather than the more reliable Annual Population Survey (APS) estimates, in its recent Labour Market Key Findings report.

Data from the LFS at this level of detail are not considered reliable, and are not classed as National Statistics. The APS is the more reliable data source for estimates of youth unemployment, due to its larger sample size, particularly when considering a breakdown by age and country within the UK. It would be helpful to make this clear both in the summary published by the Scottish Government and any related use of the estimates, including on social media.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to improve the presentation of youth unemployment rates in Scotland, and its wish to consider whether it is appropriate to continue publishing estimates based on the LFS.


Notes to editors:

Official statistics assessed as fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics are given National Statistics status. The National Statistics designation indicates that the statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value .

The Scottish Government’s Labour Market Key Findings report is available here.

The ONS Regional Statistics release, which Scottish Government drew from in their report, can be found here. The APS data used can be found here along with the LFS official statistics data used here.

In this report, youth unemployment refers to those aged 16 to 24.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is the regulatory arm of the UK Statistics Authority. We provide independent regulation of all official statistics produced in the UK assessed against the Code of Practice for Statistics.

For more information please contact the Authority press office on 07810 657 788 or the OSR press office on 020 7592 8659.