Employment policies and data

Key employment statistics: Sources, definitions and related studies

 

BASIC STATISTICAL CONCEPTS

 

Labour market outcomes
 Labour market policies and institutions

  Back to the Key employment statistics page

 

Basic statistical concepts: employment, unemployment
and activity in Labour Force Surveys

National Labour Force Surveys (LFS) are the best way to capture unemployment and employment according to the ILO guidelines that define the criteria for a person to be considered as unemployed or employed. These criteria are summarised below (for further details on national LFS, click here):
  • Employment - Persons in civilian employment include all those employed above a specified age who during a specified brief period, either one week or one day, were in the following categories: i) paid employment; ii) employers and self-employed; iii) unpaid family workers; unpaid family workers at work should be considered as being self-employed irrespective of the number of hours worked during the reference period. For operational purposes, the notion of some work may be interpreted as work for at least one hour. Total employment is defined as the sum of civilian employment and members of the armed forces.
  • Unemployment - The unemployed comprise all persons above a specified age, who during the reference period were: i) without work, i.e. were not in paid employment or self-employment during the reference period; ii) currently available for work, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment during the reference period; iii) seeking work, i.e. had taken specific steps in a specified recent period to seek paid employment or self-employment.
  • Labour Force - The Civilian Labour Force, or currently active population, comprises all persons who fulfill the requirements for inclusion among the civilian employed or the unemployed. Total Labour Force is equal to Civilian Labour Force plus the members of the armed forces.

While data from LFS make international comparisons easier compared to a mixture of survey and registration data, there are some differences across countries in coverage, survey timing, etc, that may affect international comparisons of labour market outcomes. In this context, standardised unemployment rates for 27 OECD countries are presented in the Statistical Annex (Table A) of our annual flagship publication, the OECD Employment Outlook.

For sources, coverage, definitions and detailed explanations on breaks in series and their impact on employment and unemployment levels please see here

 Labour market outcomes


Unemployment rate

Unemployed persons divided by the labour force. Data refer to the working age population (15-64) and are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.
Source:
OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Youth unemployment rate

Unemployed persons divided by the labour force. Data refer to persons aged 15 to 24 years and are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.
Source
:
OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex
Don't miss: The Jobs for Youth Review

Long-term unemployment

Persons unemployed for 12 months or more as a percentage of total unemployed. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys. Differences across countries in questionnaire wording and design, survey timing, the age groups covered and other reasons mean that care is required in interpreting cross-country differences in levels. For further details, click here.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Employment rate

Persons in employment divided by the population. Data refer to the working age population (15-64) and are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Employment rate of women
Persons in employment divided by the population. Data refer to women of working age (15-64) and are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Employment rate of older workers

Persons in employment divided by the population. Data refer to the persons aged 55 to 64 years and are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex.
Don't missThe OECD review on Ageing and Employment Policies

Temporary employment

Number of persons employed with a temporary work contract in the main job divided by dependent employment. Data are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys. Differences across countries in questionnaire wording and design, survey timing, the age groups covered and other reasons mean that care is required in interpreting cross-country differences in levels. For further details, click here.
Source: OECD Employment Database

Part-time employment

Number of persons employed part time (according to common definition of less than 30 usual weekly hours in the main job) divided by total employment. Data are expressed in percentages. Estimates are derived from national Labour Force Surveys.  For further details, click here.
Source:
OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex.

Average annual working time

Average annual hours actually worked per person in employment. The concept used is the total number of hours worked over the year divided by the average number of people in employment. Part-time workers are covered as well as full-time workers. National estimates are based on the best available sources. For further details, click here. The data are intended for comparisons of trends over time; they are unsuitable for comparisons of level of average annual hours of work for a given year, because of differences in their sources. Please note that this is likely to affect the OECD average.
SourceOECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Average annual wage

Average gross annual wages per full-time and full-year equivalent dependent employee in the total economy are obtained by dividing the National Accounts based total wage bill by the average number of employees in the total economy, which is then multiplied by the ratio of average usual weekly hours per full-time employee to average usual weekly hours for all employees. Data are expressed in USD PPPs and in constant 2008 prices.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex.

Growth of real GDP

Value-added in the total economy in volume terms. Percentage change from previous year. Estimates derived from National Accounts. 
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex.

Employment growth

Employment in the total economy. Percentage change from previous year.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex.

Wage growth

See average annual wage. Percentage change from previous year.
Source: OECD Economic Outlook

 
Labour market policies and institutions



Expenditure on active labour market policies

Include public expenditure on public employment services, training, hiring subsidies, direct job creation in the public sector, supported employment and rehabilitation and start-up incentives. Data are expressed as a percentage of GDP. For further details, click here.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex
Don't miss: Key OECD reports on Active Labour Market Policies and Activation Strategies

Expenditure on passive labour market policies

Include public expenditure on unemployment benefits and early retirement.Data are expressed as a percentage of GDP. For further details, click here.
Source: OECD Employment Outlook, Statistical Annex

Ratio of minimum to median wage

Statutory minimum wage relative to median wage of full-time workers.
Source:
OECD Employment Database

Employment protection

The OECD indicators of employment protection are synthetic indicators of the strictness of regulation on dismissals and the use of temporary contracts. For more information and full methodology, see here
Source: OECD Employment Database

Labour taxes (total tax wedge including employer payroll taxes)

Income tax plus employee and employer contributions less cash benefits. Expressed  as a percentage of labour costs (gross earnings plus employers' social security contributions). Refer to a single person without children with earnings at 100% and 67% of the average wage respectively.
Source: OECD, Taxing Wages

Unemployment benefits

Gross replacement rates (GRRs) express gross unemployment benefit levels as a percentage of previous gross earnings. This OECD summary measure of benefit entitlements is the unweighted average of 18 GRRs: three household types (single, dependent spouse and spouse in work); three time periods (the first year, the second and third years, and the fourth and fifth years of unemployment); and two earnings levels (average earnings and two-thirds of this level).
Source: OECD, Benefits and Wages

Union members

Number of trade union members as a percentage of employees. 
Source: OECD Employment Database

 

Related Documents

 

OECD Employment Outlook

Key employment statistics

Online OECD Employment database

 

Countries list

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China (People’s Republic of)
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • European Union
  • Faeroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guernsey
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao (China)
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia (Federated States of)
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestinian Administered Areas
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Serbia and Montenegro (pre-June 2006)
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Virgin Islands (UK)
  • Wallis and Futuna Islands
  • Western Sahara
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe