Labour Force data to be collected telephonically

Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, has announced that Statistics South Africa will conduct data collection for key labour statistics using telephone interviews.

Maluleke said the statistical body will use telephonic interviews instead of having field workers visiting sampled dwelling units (households).

Stats SA is changing its collection method for the second quarter of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) due to restrictions on face-to-face collections imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Continuous measuring of the economy is an important and necessary undertaking. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics South Africa will continue providing the salient labour statistics for policy and evidence-based decision making,” Maluleke said.

Telephonic data collection for quarter two will commence on Monday 11 May 2020.

Collection of data will be conducted using the Computer-Assisted Telephonic Interview (CATI) methodology.

The QLFS questionnaire has been slightly modified for telephonic interviewing and a few questions on COVID-19 have been added.

Unlike the online COVID-19 surveys conducted by Stats SA, which used convenience sampling and were therefore not representative of the South African population, the estimates from this survey will be representative of the experience of all South Africans.

“The lockdown and progression of the pandemic resulted in the discontinuation of face-to-face data collection. We are appealing for cooperation and participation from all households sampled for the survey as the data will provide much-needed information on how COVID-19 has impacted employment in South Africa,” he said.

Contact numbers for dwelling units in the sample were sourced from the QLFS data from previous quarters.

There is a need to change the survey methodology slightly, so there will be no rotation of dwelling units out of the sample until the situation with the pandemic improves.

“Some of the respondents were supposed to be in the sample for the last time in the previous quarter, we now plead with them to stay in the sample for a few more quarters to ensure that there is continuity in the production of the labour statistics that the country needs, especially during the crisis period, to assess its impact on the estimates.”

Stats SA official will not ask respondents for identity numbers and banking details.

South Africans can verify the details of Stats SA officials by using the fieldworker verification link on the Stats SA website ( or by calling the call centre on 0800 110 248.