Labour statistics

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  • Labour force statistics

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) considers people of working age to be in one (and one only) of three situations in the labour market: employed, unemployed, or inactive. The employed and unemployed together are known as the labour force.

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  • Unemployment rate

    A closely watched indicator is the unemployment rate (the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour force). The unemployment rate tracks what economists call “labour slack” – the match between the jobs on offer in an economy and the number of people seeking to work – and is a key indicator of a society’s economic and social well-being.

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  • Labour market situation

    Labour force data are typically analysed by gender, age group (youth, prime age, older). They are also frequently broken down in many other ways for specific policy purposes: by economic sector, by occupation, by level of education, full- and part-time workers, the short- and long-term unemployed.

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What's new

OECD area employment dipped in first quarter of 2020 but early evidence for second quarter points to a plunge

Employment rates
Percentage of the working-age population

QES, Eng, Home/300‌ 

16/07/2020 - The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell to 68.6% in the first quarter of 2020, from 68.9% in the previous quarter, the first decrease since early 2013. While OECD employment rates for women and men decreased at the same pace (to 61.3% and 76.1% respectively), the youth (people age 15 to 24) employment rate (down to 41.9%, from 42.3%) was particularly affected.

The number of persons (aged 20-64) who were absent from work due to temporary lay-off in the European Union, where they are counted as employed, increased sharply to 2.3 million in the first quarter of 2020 (from 0.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2019). While in the United States, where they are counted as unemployed, they increased to 1.8 million in March 2020 (from 0.8 million in December 2019).


Behind the numbers 


Further statistics on the labour market

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