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

Where are the jobs?

Where are the jobs?

This brief casts light on the trends in employment by sector and occupation, by focusing first on the broad sectors and occupations at the global level before moving on to analysing regional patterns.


Data

Methods

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.


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.


Resolution concerning statistics on work relationships

Resolution concerning statistics on work relationships

Adopted by the 20th ICLS (2018), the standards set by this resolution guide countries in updating, harmonizing and further developing their statistical programmes that include information on work relationships. Statistics on work relationships are concerned with: (a) the authority relationships between persons who work and the economic units in which or for which the work is performed; and (b) the economic risks that follow from the contractual or other conditions under which the work is performed. These statistics can relate to all forms of work, including own-use production work, employment, unpaid trainee work, volunteer work and other forms of work.


Resolution concerning the methodology of the SDG indicator 8.b.1 on youth employment

Resolution concerning the methodology of the SDG indicator 8.b.1 on youth employment

Adopted by the 20th ICLS (2018), this resolution sets an internationally agreed methodology to measure indicator SDG 8.b.1 on national youth employment strategies consistent with the Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A/RES/71/313).


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.


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

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