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Press release

Labour market areas

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Labour market areas (LMAs, “local labour systems” – “SLL” in Italy) are sub-regional geographical areas where the bulk of the labour force lives and works, and where establishments can find the largest amount of the labour force necessary to occupy the offered jobs. They respond to the need for meaningfully comparable sub-regional labour market areas for the reporting and analysis of statistics. LMAs are defined on a functional basis, the key criterion being the proportion of commuters who cross the LMA boundary on their way to work.

LMAs are developed through an allocation process based on the analysis of commuting patterns. 2011 LMAs are based on commuting data stemming from the 15th Population Census using a new allocation process, an evolution of the previous algorithm: they are 611 distinct areas. The implementation of the same allocation process on 2001 commuting data gives rise to 683 zones; once again a reduction in the number of areas is observed, and it is due to the increase of the trend in more and longer distance commuting.

LMAs are not designed to respect administrative boundary constraints: 56 of them (9.2%) cut across regional boundaries and 185 (30.3%) span across different provinces (Nuts3). Voghera and Melfi market areas are the only ones cutting across three regions (Nuts2). Milano is the biggest LMA in Italy: it encompasses 3.7 million inhabitants, 174 municipalities belonging to 7 out of the 12 provinces in Lombardy (Nuts2).

In December 2015 Istat has been awarded a grant by Eurostat with the aim  of making available methodologies and tools to facilitate the  development of LMAs among European Union countries.

For more details please refer to the Italian version

For information

Development of information systems and corporate products,
information management and quality assessment directorate

Sandro Cruciani
ph. +39 06 4673.3275

Luisa Franconi
ph. +39 06 4673.3355

Reference period: Year 2011

Date of Issue: 17 December 2014