Statistics on unemployment and supplementary measures of labour underutilization

The unemployment rate is probably the best-known labour market measure and is certainly one of the most widely quoted by the media. The unemployment rate is a useful measure of the underutilization of the labour supply. It reflects the inability of an economy to generate employment for those persons who want to work but are not doing so, even though they are available for employment and actively seeking work.

Other measures of labour underutilization recognized in the international statistical standards are time-related underemployment and the potential labour force.

Table of Contents

Featured publication

Rural and urban labour markets: Different challenges for promoting decent work

Rural and urban labour markets: Different challenges for promoting decent work

This issue of Spotlight on Work Statistics explores the rapid urbanization observed in the world and the accompanying shifts in employment from agriculture to non-agricultural activities. It sheds light on differences between rural and urban areas in labour force participation and labour underutilization (and especially unemployment). It also attempts to reveal differences in the quality of employment in rural and urban areas.


Data

Methods


Indicator description: Youth not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Indicator descriptions provide a concise overview of concepts and definitions, uses, sources and limitations.


Indicator description: Unemployment rate

Indicator descriptions provide a concise overview of concepts and definitions, uses, sources and limitations.


Indicator description: Time-related underemployment

Indicator descriptions provide a concise overview of concepts and definitions, uses, sources and limitations.


Quick guide on interpreting the unemployment rate

Quick guide on interpreting the unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is a key labour market indicator, but it has many shortcomings which we must take into account when interpreting it. The Quick guide on interpreting the unemployment rate provides helpful information on all the main aspects underlying this headline indicator and its limitations. It also provides tips to communicate effectively on the unemployment rate.


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Select a frequency to find monthly, quarterly, or annual indicators. While all indicators are available for annual periods, only a subset are available as monthly or quarterly. You can also filter the database or use the search feature to enter key words.

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Data available in the Excel summary files are for indicators only (not available for countries or regions) for selected classification items for 2010 onward for annual data and 2018 onward for short-term indicators. For historical data or additional classifications, either use the Data Explorer or download the CSV file. 

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