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

Sources and Methods Volume 5: Population censuses (2004) – Total and economically active population, employment and unemployment

This volume is an updated version of the second edition issued in 1996 which presented national methodological descriptions of population censuses carried out during the period 1989-94 in 115 countries, areas and territories. The first edition issued in 1990 covered the period 1945-89.


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.


*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.