Claimant count and labor force survey are the basic two ways to measuring countries unemployment. Neither one of these two measurements are perfect so now I am going to have a discussion about the reliability of these two measurement. Claimant count is based on counting the number of people who claim unemployment related benefits (the majority of whom claim Jobseeker allowance (JSA)) and they are willingly and able to work. The strength of this method is cheap and quick, the statistical department just needs to use the data in the computer to make a claimant count .
But it has some serious weaknesses, first it can only give the number of people who do claim jobseeker allowance but no qualitative descriptions like if they are really willingly to seek jobs, some people are just not willingly to work. And some people who are under or over the standard age of labor forces are involved like old men and teenagers, they are searching for jobs but actually they are not a part of the labor force. Also there are some regions in the world like Hong Kong which have not developed such a completed welfare system so the claimant count cannot work so well.
Labor Force Surveys are statistical surveys conducted in a number of countries designed to capture data about the labor market. All European Union member states are required to conduct a Labor Force Survey annually.  Labor Force Surveys are also carried out in some non-EU countries.  They are used to calculate the International Labor Organization (ILO)-defined unemployment rate.  The ILO agrees the definitions and concepts employed in Labor Force Surveys. The advantage are that it is thought by many to give a more accurate measure most commonly used when making international comparison.
It also collects information about the labour market, such as the qualification of potential workers and how many people are seeking part time job. The disadvantages are that the information is costly to compile and is subject to sampling and response error. It also takes many time to complete the survey so there maybe delays.  After introduce the two ways of measuring unemployment we can easily indicate that both measurements are not perfect, each one has problems can cause serious mistakes, so what we could do is to select.
The labor force survey may need many time to complete and put the datas in order and also it may has delays so we can only use it on a very large scale of measurement like annually report used for comparing the unemployment with other countries or offering the datas to ILO to have the data analyzed. But we can use the claimant count to measure the unemployment rate in a short period because it has no delays while delays are really serious problem for tactical decision. The reliability of the two ways are different on different measuring scales.
Once the unemployment are used to make strategic decision the reliability of the labor force survey are better than of the claimant count for it is more accurate and using the international standard. The reliability of claimant count is better during the process of making the tactical decision for it has no delay and easy to collect. Reference 1. “LabourForceSurvey”. OfficeforNationalStatistics. http://www. statistics. gov. uk/ssd/surveys/labour_force_survey. asp. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 2. “LabourForceSurveys”. InternationalLabourOrganization. http://www. ilo. org/dyn/lfsurvey/lfsurvey. home.
Retrieved 2008-12-07. 3 Lipsey, Richard G; Chrystal, Alec (2007). Economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 569. ISBN0199286418. http://books. google. co. uk/books? id=AOp4mP5EuQcC&pg=PA569&lpg=PA569&dq=ILO+unemployment+LFS&source=web&ots=Kvf_vpl00q&sig=0LFYepiCd-xbUtMVpgKxOApj15E&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result. 4. a b c Browne, Lester; Alstrup, Peter (July 2006). “What Exactly is the Labour Force Survey? “. OfficeforNationalStatistics. pp. 3–4. 5. SJ Grant AS Economics Published by Longman ISBN0 582 50185 7 Page. 228 P. S This essay is also published on the author’s blog.