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

Data

Methods

Key Labor Market Indicators: Analysis with Household Survey Data

Key Labor Market Indicators: Analysis with Household Survey Data

This publication is an introduction to labour market indicator analysis and a guide for analysing household survey data using the ADePT ILO Labour Market Indicators Module. The ADePT module is a powerful tool for producing and analysing KILM indicators using household survey data. The software allows researchers and practitioners to automate data production, to minimize data production errors and to quickly produce a wide range of labour market data from labour force surveys or other household surveys that contain labour market information.


Sources and Methods Volume 3B: Labour force surveys (2011) – Source of statistics of the labour force and its components

This volume presents national methodological descriptions of statistics of employment, unemployment, underemployment, hours of work and other indicators derived from labour force and household surveys, disseminated on ILOSTAT. It is a revised and updated version of the third edition issued in 2004, and contains descriptions for 160 countries and territories and 169 surveys.


The employment situation of people with disabilities: Towards improved statistical information

This guide highlights basic knowledge from the fields of labour and disability statistics which has to be combined for a comprehensive description of the employment situation of people with disabilities. It will be of great relevance to worldwide countries as they work to promote and monitor equal employment opportunities for disabled persons. It provides information on current standards and definitions in the fields of employment and disability, as well as descriptions of good practices related to the compilation of statistics on the employment situation of people with disabilities, so that better data on this topic can be produced.


Sources and Methods Volume 3A: Household surveys (2004) – Economically active population, employment, unemployment and hours of work

This volume presents national methodological descriptions of statistics of employment, unemployment, underemployment, hours of work and other indicators derived from labour force and household surveys, disseminated on ILOSTAT. It is a revised and updated version of the second edition issued in 1990. This third edition contains descriptions for 83 countries.


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.


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

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