Data

Unemployment rate

What you should know about this indicator

Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment.

Limitations and exceptions: The criteria for people considered to be seeking work, and the treatment of people temporarily laid off or seeking work for the first time, vary across countries. In many cases it is especially difficult to measure employment and unemployment in agriculture. The timing of a survey can maximize the effects of seasonal unemployment in agriculture. And informal sector employment is difficult to quantify where informal activities are not tracked.

There may be also persons not currently in the labour market who want to work but do not actively "seek" work because they view job opportunities as limited, or because they have restricted labour mobility, or face discrimination, or structural, social or cultural barriers. The exclusion of people who want to work but are not seeking work (often called the "hidden unemployed" or "discouraged workers") is a criterion that will affect the unemployment count of both women and men.

However, women tend to be excluded from the count for various reasons. Women suffer more from discrimination and from structural, social, and cultural barriers that impede them from seeking work. Also, women are often responsible for the care of children and the elderly and for household affairs. They may not be available for work during the short reference period, as they need to make arrangements before starting work. Further, women are considered to be employed when they are working part-time or in temporary jobs, despite the instability of these jobs or their active search for more secure employment.

Statistical concept and methodology: The standard definition of unemployed persons is those individuals without work, seeking work in a recent past period, and currently available for work, including people who have lost their jobs or voluntarily left work. In addition, persons who did not look for work but have an arrangement for a future job are also counted as unemployed. Still, some unemployment is unavoidable—at any time, some workers are temporarily unemployed between jobs as employers look for the right workers and workers search for better jobs. The labor force or the economically active portion of the population serves as the base for this indicator, not the total population.

The series is part of the "ILO modeled estimates database," including nationally reported observations and imputed data for countries with missing data, primarily to capture regional and global trends with consistent country coverage. Country-reported microdata is based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (e.g., household surveys and population censuses) considering differences in the data source, the scope of coverage, methodology, and other country-specific factors. Country analysis requires caution where limited nationally reported data are available. A series of models are also applied to impute missing observations and make projections. However, imputed observations are not based on national data, are subject to high uncertainty, and should not be used for country comparisons or rankings. For more information: https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/concepts-and-definitions/ilo-modelled-estimates/

Notes from original source: Given the exceptional situation, including the scarcity of relevant data, the ILO modeled estimates and projections from 2020 onwards are subject to substantial uncertainty.

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
1991–2022
Unit
modeled ILO estimate

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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Citations

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To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Unemployment rate”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from International Labour Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/unemployment-rate [online resource]
How to cite this data

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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Unemployment rate” [dataset]. International Labour Organization, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 20, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/unemployment-rate