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

Data

Methods

Capturing impacts on employment and unpaid work using Rapid Surveys

Capturing impacts on employment and unpaid work using Rapid Surveys

Lack of data on how households and workers are being impacted by the pandemic can severely affect the formulation of programmes and policies aimed to help those most in need. In times of crisis, rapid surveys may be an alternative source of information where official household surveys such as LFS have been halted or postponed. This note provides modules for rapid surveys to shed light on the COVID-19 impacts on paid and unpaid work.


Guidebook on SDG Labour Market Indicators

Decent Work and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Guidebook on SDG Labour Market Indicators

This Guidebook provides a detailed overview of the labour market indicators included in the Sustainable Development Goals Global Indicator Framework. It is intended to serve as a manual of best practices for calculating and interpreting the SDG labour market indicators, with a view to monitoring progress made at the national and international levels towards the achievement of the SDGs.


Decent Work Indicators: Concepts and definitions

Decent Work Indicators - Guidelines for producers and users of statistical and legal framework indicators

Decent work is central to sustainable poverty reduction and is a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization recommends the establishment of appropriate indicators to monitor the progress made in the implementation of the ILO Decent Work Agenda. The ILO is supporting member States through technical assistance and capacity building at national, sub-regional and regional levels in this regard.


Defining and measuring remote work, telework, work at home and home-based work

Defining and measuring remote work, telework, work at home and home-based work

Working from a distance and working at home are not new phenomena but the relevance of their measurement has increased, not least due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This notes provide guidance to data producers on how the four different concepts of remote work, telework, work at home and home-based work should be statistically understood, how they relate to each other, and how they can be measured through a household survey.


Employment and economic class in the developing world

Employment and economic class in the developing world

This paper introduces a model for generating national estimates and projections of the distribution of the employed across five economic classes for 142 developing countries over the period 1991 to 2017. The national estimates are used to produce aggregate estimates of employment by economic class for eight developing regions and for the developing world as a whole. We estimate that 41.6 per cent of the developing world’s workers were middle class and above in 2011, more than double the share in 1991. Yet, regional figures show that widespread poverty and vulnerability to poverty persists in many developing regions. Further growth in the developing world’s middle class, which both reflects and supports broader economic development, will require increased productivity levels and an expansion in the number of quality jobs.


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

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