Statistics on unemployment and supplementary measures of labour underutilization

The unemployment rate is probably the best-known labour market measure and is certainly one of the most widely quoted by the media. The unemployment rate is a useful measure of the underutilization of the labour supply. It reflects the inability of an economy to generate employment for those persons who want to work but are not doing so, even though they are available for employment and actively seeking work.

Other measures of labour underutilization recognized in the international statistical standards are time-related underemployment and the potential labour force.

Table of Contents

Featured publication

Persons outside the labour force: How inactive are they really?

Persons outside the labour force: How inactive are they really?

Inactivity rates are increasing around the world, while the global population and labour force are ageing. But the inactivity rate is an aggregate measure overlooking the different profiles of people outside the labour force. This Spotlight on Work Statistics explores the characteristics of the potential labour force, made up of persons outside the labour force with an attachment to the labour market.


Data

Methods

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.


Resolution concerning statistics of work, employment and labour underutilization

Adopted by the 19th ICLS (2013), this resolution sets standards for work statistics to guide countries in updating and integrating their existing statistical programmes in this field. It defines the statistical concept of work for reference purposes and provides operational concepts, definitions and guidelines for: (a) distinct subsets of work activities, referred to as forms of work; (b) related classifications of the population according to their labour force status and main form of work; (c) measures of labour underutilization.


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.


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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. 

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