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

Featured publication

Spotlight on Work Statistics: Education pays off but you have to be patient

Education pays off, but you have to be patient

The educational level of the world’s labour force is increasing, but it is not always easy for highly educated workers to find jobs matching their expectations. This Spotlight on Work Statistics explores the advantages and disadvantages of having a tertiary degree in the labour market.


Data

Methods

Statistics of Cooperatives: Concepts, classification, work and economic contribution measurements

Statistics on Cooperatives: Concepts, classification, work and economic contribution measurement

This publication brings together updated versions of four background studies produced for the ILO and COPAC in the process leading up to the adoption of the Guidelines concerning statistics of cooperatives at the 20th ICLS in October 2018. Together with the guidelines, it is intended to help statisticians to capture more information on key trends and challenges in the world of cooperatives.



Indicator description: Employment-to-population ratio

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


Indicator description: Informal employment and informal sector

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


Indicator description: Household type

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


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

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Use filters above the table

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.

Options to access data

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. 

Download a zipped CSV file (gzip) to get data in bulk. These files contain only codes. Download the dictionary with labels here

There are other options to access data in the data tools section

The option provides an intuitive interface to filter the selection, including for all available breakdowns (e.g., sex and age), and export the data into various formats.