Regional, rural and urban development

Project: Building Statistical Evidence to understand Local Labour Market Differentiation and Support more effective Policies


A LEED policy innovation project for 2013-2014

The project is conducted in collaboration with the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (
ELS) and the Directorate for Education (EDU).



The main objective of this project is to gather evidence on local labour markets, in particular on skills supply and demand, employment and productivity. In addition, this project will analyse strengths and weaknesses in the disaggregation of data in interested countries, while assessing how the evidence base can better drive policy implementation which is adapted to the needs of different local labour markets.



The OECD Skills Strategy has highlighted the importance of strengthening the evidence base in order to implement effective and targeted skills policies. The importance of better understanding the balance between skills supply and demand at the local level was also underlined.

LEED research has highlighted the strong variation between local labour markets in OECD countries in terms of jobs, skills and the economic development context. To generate better outcomes on employment and skills, policy in OECD countries needs to be more adaptable to the different needs of such contexts. This requires robust data at the level of local labour markets. However in a number of countries this is still not available.


Main issues to be addressed

The project Local level data is fundamental to building an accurate picture of the labour market context and to assess the relative success of different labour market policies.  However many official indicators are still too aggregated to provide satisfactory evidence and countries have expressed the need to improve the quality and availability of local level data. When data is available it is often not published by national statistical offices due to confidentiality clauses that make the data gathering process complicated. Additional problems arise when the geographical level of the data does not match local labour markets or travel-to-work areas.


This project will focus on the identification of labour market indicators at the local level (TL3) in OECD and key partner countries. In order to find indicators common to all countries a careful assessment of data availability will be conducted in collaboration with the national statistical offices. Important new data may also be made available at the local level on skills through the PIAAC and PISA surveys, which are piloting new tools aimed at individual schools and firms. 


In addition to official data, a series of benchmarks on the local development capacity of countries will be developed, based on data built by cross-country comparative projects in the LEED programme of work. Part of the work will also focus on finding new ways of presenting this data in order to contribute to a LEED flagship publication.



The following activities will be included in the project:


  • Labour market indicators will be selected to identify labour market differences across local economies. New ways of presenting the data (e.g. maps, visual representation, webpage) will be also tested.

  • The skills mapping exercise on supply and demand, developed in 2011-12, will be updated and extended to a broader set of countries and the results will be published on the skills.oecd website.

  • Strengths and weaknesses in terms of data disaggregation in participating countries will be analysed. Contacts with national statistical offices will be made in order to assess how to improve data availability at the local level.

  • New ways to utilise and harness the PIAAC and PISA surveys at the local level will be explored (in collaboration with EDU, ELS and other units of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development).

  • A series of benchmarks on the local development capacity of countries will be developed, based on cross-country comparative projects.



Delegates will be invited to identify a contact person in the national statistical office who could be consulted on matters related to the project, such as local data availability, and be part of a network to assist LEED in this work. Countries can request an analysis of their degree of disaggregation and compatibility of data with local labour markets / travel-to-work areas to assess how data can effectively and usefully support policy implementation and differentiation. Countries can support and extend the work under this project through voluntary contributions.



The results from this project will be presented on the skills.oecd website as part of the LEED contribution to the OECD Skills Strategy. Additional data will be also included on the LEED webpage.

Most relevant data and benchmarks will be circulated during the LEED Directing Committees and presented in the form of reports during the biennium. Country specific assessments on data disaggregation will be prepared upon request.

Data and indicators will also be presented in a flagship publication expected to be released at the end of the biennium.



For further information about the project please contact the OECD Secretariat.



Related Documents