APS April 2020 - March 2021 data delayed

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS) generally operate on the basis of a first interview conducted face to face, with subsequent interviews conducted by telephone, through a contact number obtained during that first interview.

At the start of the pandemic all face to face interviewing was suspended and ONS had to switch to telephone only interviewing, using telematching and contact numbers submitted by households selected for the survey. These changes introduced a change to the non-response bias of the survey.

In October 2020, as an initial step to address these issues, ONS introduce tenure based weights into the survey as detailed in the article Coronavirus and its impact on the Labour Force Survey. While this constituted a significant improvement, further work was required.

In May 2021 an article was published regarding Labour Force Survey weighting methodology, giving details of further improvements planned, making use of information from the payroll tax system to provide population weights, with the intention to apply this in labour market publications from July 2021.

Due to the work involved in reweighting, processing and publishing the datasets involved, ONS set out in that article a timetable of work. This timetable allows all outputs to take account of the new methodology and population totals in the most timely way.

As a consequence of this, new APS datasets are not being produced using the old weights of population totals, with the next datasets due to be produced in August 2021, for release in September 2021. At that time new data will be released for all APS periods from April 2019 to March 2020, up to and including July 2020 to June 2021.