Long-term unemployment (% of total unemployment) - Country Ranking

Definition: Long-term unemployment refers to the number of people with continuous periods of unemployment extending for a year or longer, expressed as a percentage of the total unemployed.

Source: International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 90.50 2012
2 Egypt 88.50 2013
3 Macedonia 83.20 2014
4 Namibia 81.30 2013
5 Montenegro 79.10 2012
6 Mozambique 78.30 2005
7 Serbia 77.90 2012
8 Greece 73.50 2014
9 Albania 72.60 2013
10 Algeria 71.40 2011
11 Mongolia 67.30 2012
12 Azerbaijan 67.00 2013
13 Slovak Republic 66.80 2014
14 Morocco 64.10 2013
15 Lesotho 61.70 2008
16 Italy 60.80 2014
17 Bulgaria 60.40 2014
18 Botswana 59.80 2006
19 Chile 59.70 1995
20 Portugal 59.60 2014
21 Cameroon 59.30 2010
22 Croatia 58.30 2014
23 Ireland 58.20 2014
24 Fiji 55.60 2005
25 Belize 54.90 1999
26 Slovenia 54.50 2014
27 Spain 52.80 2014
28 Armenia 52.70 2012
29 Belgium 49.90 2014
30 Bahrain 49.80 2004
31 Hungary 48.90 2014
32 Cyprus 47.70 2014
33 Tanzania 47.20 2000
34 Malta 46.80 2014
35 Nepal 46.20 2008
36 Estonia 45.30 2014
37 Lithuania 44.70 2014
38 Tunisia 44.60 2012
39 Czech Republic 44.50 2014
40 Dominica 44.30 1997
41 Germany 44.00 2014
42 Suriname 43.40 1998
43 Latvia 42.90 2014
44 France 42.40 2014
45 Dominican Republic 42.20 2012
46 Jordan 41.70 2011
47 Romania 41.10 2014
48 Vanuatu 40.50 2010
49 Netherlands 39.60 2014
50 Iran 39.00 2010
51 Bhutan 38.60 2013
52 India 38.20 2010
53 Japan 37.60 2014
54 Switzerland 37.00 2014
55 Poland 36.20 2014
56 United Kingdom 35.70 2014
57 Ethiopia 35.60 2012
58 South Africa 35.50 2014
59 Tajikistan 34.20 2009
60 The Bahamas 33.00 2009
61 Jamaica 31.70 2001
62 Mauritius 29.80 2012
63 Venezuela 29.20 2012
64 Uganda 28.90 2013
65 Russia 28.10 2014
66 Luxembourg 27.40 2014
67 Austria 27.20 2014
68 Argentina 26.60 2013
69 Sri Lanka 25.60 2013
70 Denmark 25.20 2014
71 Trinidad and Tobago 23.70 2002
72 United States 23.00 2014
73 Finland 22.80 2014
74 Yemen 22.60 2010
75 Australia 21.80 2014
76 Qatar 21.30 2013
77 Paraguay 21.20 2012
78 Singapore 21.00 2012
79 Ukraine 20.90 2013
80 Turkey 20.60 2014
81 Saudi Arabia 19.90 2013
82 Panama 19.70 2012
82 Bolivia 19.70 2010
84 Barbados 19.50 2012
84 Pakistan 19.50 2010
86 Kyrgyz Republic 16.80 2012
87 Kazakhstan 16.50 2012
88 Costa Rica 15.90 2014
89 Cuba 15.60 2010
90 Sweden 15.00 2014
91 Brazil 14.60 2012
91 Colombia 14.60 2014
93 Vietnam 13.10 2013
93 Thailand 13.10 2012
95 Iceland 12.90 2014
95 Guatemala 12.90 2012
97 Hong Kong SAR, China 12.60 2013
97 Moldova 12.60 2012
99 Canada 12.40 2014
100 New Zealand 11.90 2014
101 Norway 11.00 2014
102 Timor-Leste 10.50 2010
103 Israel 8.90 2014
103 Malaysia 8.90 2012
105 El Salvador 7.30 1996
106 Ecuador 5.40 2013
107 Belarus 4.60 2013
108 Macao SAR, China 2.90 2013
109 Mexico 1.20 2014
110 Philippines 0.90 2012
111 Uruguay 0.50 2013
112 Korea 0.40 2013

Development Relevance: While short periods of joblessness are of less concern, especially when unemployed persons are covered by unemployment insurance schemes or similar forms of support, prolonged periods of unemployment bring with them many undesirable effects, particularly loss of income and diminishing employability of the jobseeker. Moreover, short-term unemployment may even be viewed as desirable when it allows time for jobless persons to find optimal employment in line with the jobseeker's skills set and capabilities; also, in employment systems where workers can be temporarily laid off and then called back, short spells of unemployment allow employers to weather temporary declines in business activity. Reducing the length of unemployment spells is a key element in many strategies to reduce overall unemployment. Long-duration unemployment is undesirable, especially in circumstances where unemployment results from difficulties in matching supply and demand because of demand deficiency. The longer a person is unemployed, the lower his or her chance of finding a job. Drawing income support for the period of unemployment certainly diminishes economic hardship, but financial support does not last indefinitely. In any case, unemployment insurance coverage is often insufficient and not available to every unemployed person; the most likely non-recipients are persons entering or re-entering the labour market. Eligibility criteria and the extent of coverage, as well as the very existence of insurance, vary widely across countries. Unemployment and total employment are the broadest indicators of economic activity as reflected by the labor market. The International Labour Organization(ILO) defines the unemployed as members of the economically active population who are without work but available for and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs or who have voluntarily left work. 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. Such unemployment, often called frictional unemployment, results from the normal operation of labor markets. In many developing countries women work on farms or in other family enterprises without pay and others work in or near their homes, mixing work and family activities during the day. Labor force statistics by gender is important to monitor gender disparities in unemployment patterns. In many developed economies, women have been increasingly acquiring higher education that has led to better-compensated, longer-term careers rather than lower-skilled, shorter-term jobs. However, access to good- paying occupations for women remains unequal in many occupations and countries around the world.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data on long-term unemployment are often collected in household labour force surveys. Some countries obtain the data from administrative records, such as those of employment exchanges or unemployment insurance schemes. In this case, data are less likely to be available by sex; moreover, since many insurance schemes are limited in their coverage, administrative data are likely to yield different distributions of unemployment duration. In addition, the use of administrative data reduces the likelihood that ratios can be calculated using a statistically consistent labour force base. Therefore, all the data for this indicator come from labour force surveys, alternative sources having been eliminated as likely to cause inconsistency across the countries for which data are provided. Labor force surveys generally yield the most comprehensive data because they include groups not covered in other unemployment statistics, particularly people seeking work for the first time. These surveys generally use a definition of unemployment that follows the international recommendations more closely than that used by other sources and therefore generate statistics that are more comparable internationally. But the age group, geographic coverage, and collection methods could differ by country or change over time within a country. For detailed information, consult the original source. While data from household labour force surveys make international comparisons easier, they are not perfect. Questionnaire design, survey timing, differences in the age groups covered and other issues affecting comparability, mean that care is required in interpreting cross-country differences in levels of unemployment. Also, users will want to know something about the nature of unemployment insurance coverage in countries of interest to them, as substantial differences in such coverage - especially the lack of it altogether - can have a profound effect on differences in long-term unemployment. It should also be acknowledged that the length of time that a person has been unemployed is, in general, more difficult to measure than many other statistics, particularly when the data are derived from labour force surveys. When unemployed persons are interviewed, their ability to recall with any degree of precision the length of time that they have been jobless diminishes significantly as the period of joblessness extends. Thus, as it nears a full year, it is quite easy to say "one year", when in reality the respondent may have been unemployed between 10 and 14 months. If the household respondent is a proxy for the unemployed person, the specific knowledge and the ability to recall are reduced even further. Moreover, as the jobless period lengthens, not only is the likelihood of accurate recall reduced, the jobless period is also more likely to have been interrupted by limited periods of work or spells of discouragement, but either this is forgotten over time or the unemployed person may not consider that work period as relevant to his or her "real"unemployment problem. The ILO definition of unemployment notwithstanding, reference periods, 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 developing countries it is especially difficult to measure employment and unemployment in agriculture. The timing of a survey, for example, can maximize the effects of seasonal unemployment in agriculture. And informal sector employment is difficult to quantify where informal activities are not tracked.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: The standard definition of long-term unemployment covers all unemployed persons with continuous periods of unemployment extending for a year or longer (52 weeks and over), expressed as percentage of total unemployment. The standard definition of unemployed persons is those individuals without work, seeking work in a recent past period, and currently available for work. Persons who did not look for work but have an arrangements for a future job are counted as unemployed. It is the labour force or the economically active portion of the population that serves as the base for this indicator, not the total population.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Relevance to gender indicator: Even though, in most countries, long-term unemployment rate is higher for men than women, the repercussion of long-term unemployment is likely to be more pronounced for women.