Employment statistics

The importance of employment as a pathway to economic development, social inclusion and well-being has long been recognised. As well as being at the heart of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, employment is a central element in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which places emphasis on promoting productive employment and decent work for all (Goal 8).

In this context, statistics on employment are crucial to monitor progress towards many national and international policy goals. These statistics must not just quantify work and people in employment but also provide meaningful information on the types of jobs people are doing.

The international statistical standards relating to employment have undergone significant changes over time, designed to improve their relevance and depth for policy makers. The most significant of these changes came at the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 2013 when the international community adopted the first statistical definition of work alongside a forms of work framework. Within the new framework, employment is defined as work performed in return for pay or profit. This is narrower than the scope of the previous definition which included some unpaid activities such as subsistence work. 

Table of contents

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Data

Methods

Sources and Methods Volume 4: Administrative records and related sources (2004) – Employment, unemployment, wages and hours of work

This volume presents national methodological descriptions of statistics of employment, unemployment, wages and hours of work, derived from administrative records and related sources. It is a revised and updated version of the first edition issued in 1989, and contains 124 descriptions in respect of 102 countries, areas and territories.


Sources and Methods Volume 5: Population censuses (2004) – Total and economically active population, employment and unemployment

This volume is an updated version of the second edition issued in 1996 which presented national methodological descriptions of population censuses carried out during the period 1989-94 in 115 countries, areas and territories. The first edition issued in 1990 covered the period 1945-89.


Resolution concerning statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment

Adopted by the 13th ICLS (1982), this resolution encourages each country to develop a comprehensive system of statistics on the economic activity of the population in order to provide an adequate statistical base for the various users of the statistics.


*Replaced by the Resolution concerning statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization

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