SOCIAL POLICY : MARKED IMPROVEMENT IN SOCIAL STATISTICS BUT SHORTCOMINGS REMAIN.

 
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European statistics on labour and the workforce have improved significantly over the past three years according to two reports published by the European Commission, but many difficulties still remain.

Since the implementation of compulsory reporting of indices in 2004, considerable progress has been made, especially in the general availability of the labour cost index. There are, however, 'a number of quality issues which still require extra effort from certain member states in order to complete theaharmonisation process', notes the Commission.

After evaluation, the Commission (Eurostat) found that the quality of the labour cost indices (LCI) in ten member states (Belgium, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Finland andaSweden) 'is not sufficient in all respects' to fulfil the requirements of regulation 450/2003/EC. 'Insufficient timeliness, missing working-day and seasonally adjusted series and incomplete historical series also play their part in lowering the quality of the LCI series', reported Eurostat. The quality of data in the Netherlands is 'still uncertain' and 'shortcomings with historical time series still remain' in the reports submitted by Latvia and the United Kingdom.

'Considerable progress has been made towards improving the data quality and comparability of the national Labour Force Surveys', says the Commission in a report on the implementation of Council Regulation 577/98/EC, therebyaenabling Eurostat to publish quarterly results in compliance with the regulation.

However, Luxembourg...

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