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

Data

Methods

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 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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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.