Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (national estimate) - Country Ranking

Definition: Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment. Definitions of labor force and unemployment differ by country.

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 Djibouti 59.50 2002
2 Solomon Islands 31.90 1999
3 Mauritania 31.20 2008
4 Kiribati 30.60 2010
5 The Gambia 29.80 2012
6 Namibia 29.70 2013
7 Swaziland 28.20 2007
8 Macedonia 28.00 2014
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina 27.50 2013
10 Greece 26.50 2014
11 South Africa 24.90 2014
12 Lesotho 24.40 2013
12 Spain 24.40 2014
14 Equatorial Guinea 24.20 1983
15 Mozambique 22.60 2012
16 St. Lucia 22.20 2013
17 Serbia 22.10 2013
18 Gabon 20.40 2010
19 Comoros 20.00 1991
20 Libya 19.00 2012
21 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 18.80 2008
22 Montenegro 18.00 2014
23 Botswana 17.90 2010
24 Yemen 17.80 2010
25 Albania 17.50 2014
26 Croatia 17.30 2014
27 The Bahamas 16.20 2013
27 Armenia 16.20 2013
29 Cyprus 16.10 2014
30 Tunisia 15.90 2013
31 Jamaica 15.30 2013
32 Syrian Arab Republic 14.90 2011
33 Dominican Republic 14.50 2014
34 New Caledonia 14.00 2009
35 Puerto Rico 13.90 2014
35 Portugal 13.90 2014
37 São Tomé and Principe 13.60 2012
38 Slovak Republic 13.20 2014
38 Egypt 13.20 2013
40 Sudan 13.00 2009
41 Italy 12.70 2014
42 Jordan 12.60 2013
43 Georgia 12.40 2014
44 Guyana 11.80 2002
45 Belize 11.70 2013
46 Barbados 11.50 2013
46 Tajikistan 11.50 2009
48 Bulgaria 11.40 2014
49 Zimbabwe 11.30 2014
49 Ireland 11.30 2014
51 Dominica 11.00 2001
52 Latvia 10.80 2014
53 Cabo Verde 10.70 2010
53 Lithuania 10.70 2014
55 Algeria 10.60 2014
55 Iran 10.60 2014
57 Senegal 10.40 2011
58 Grenada 10.20 2001
59 France 9.90 2014
59 Morocco 9.90 2014
59 Turkey 9.90 2014
62 Kenya 9.80 1999
63 Greenland 9.70 2013
63 Slovenia 9.70 2014
65 Costa Rica 9.60 2014
66 Côte d'Ivoire 9.40 2012
67 Ukraine 9.30 2014
68 Colombia 9.10 2014
69 Lebanon 9.00 2007
69 Fiji 9.00 2012
69 Poland 9.00 2014
72 Finland 8.70 2014
72 Samoa 8.70 2012
74 Belgium 8.50 2014
75 Antigua and Barbuda 8.40 2001
76 Kyrgyz Republic 8.30 2013
77 Afghanistan 8.20 2011
77 Mali 8.20 2014
79 Sweden 8.00 2014
79 Iraq 8.00 2011
81 Zambia 7.90 2012
81 Mongolia 7.90 2013
83 Mauritius 7.70 2014
83 Hungary 7.70 2014
85 Estonia 7.40 2014
86 Argentina 7.30 2014
87 Haiti 7.20 1999
88 Venezuela 7.00 2014
89 Canada 6.90 2014
90 Netherlands 6.80 2014
90 Philippines 6.80 2014
90 Romania 6.80 2014
93 Uruguay 6.60 2014
93 Denmark 6.60 2014
93 San Marino 6.60 2014
96 Tuvalu 6.50 2005
97 Malawi 6.40 2013
98 Cayman Islands 6.30 2013
99 United States 6.20 2014
100 United Kingdom 6.10 2014
100 Australia 6.10 2014
100 Czech Republic 6.10 2014
103 Paraguay 6.00 2014
103 Peru 6.00 2014
103 Myanmar 6.00 1990
106 Israel 5.90 2014
106 El Salvador 5.90 2013
106 Luxembourg 5.90 2014
106 Malta 5.90 2014
106 Chile 5.90 2013
106 Saudi Arabia 5.90 2014
106 Indonesia 5.90 2014
113 New Zealand 5.80 2014
114 Pakistan 5.60 2014
114 Austria 5.60 2014
116 Nicaragua 5.30 2013
117 Ghana 5.20 2013
117 Russia 5.20 2014
119 Kazakhstan 5.10 2014
119 St. Kitts and Nevis 5.10 2001
121 Germany 5.00 2014
122 Azerbaijan 4.90 2014
122 Iceland 4.90 2014
122 India 4.90 2014
122 Mexico 4.90 2014
126 Panama 4.80 2014
126 Suriname 4.80 2013
126 Brazil 4.80 2014
126 Nigeria 4.80 2014
130 Vanuatu 4.60 2009
131 Bangladesh 4.50 2010
131 Switzerland 4.50 2014
131 Ethiopia 4.50 2013
134 Sri Lanka 4.30 2014
135 Ecuador 4.20 2013
135 Palau 4.20 2005
135 United Arab Emirates 4.20 2009
138 Seychelles 4.10 2011
138 Cameroon 4.10 2010
138 China 4.10 2014
141 Honduras 3.90 2013
141 Timor-Leste 3.90 2010
141 Moldova 3.90 2014
144 Liberia 3.70 2010
144 Dem. Rep. Congo 3.70 2005
146 Trinidad and Tobago 3.60 2013
146 Kuwait 3.60 2011
146 Monaco 3.60 2000
149 Korea 3.50 2014
149 Japan 3.50 2014
149 Norway 3.50 2014
152 Sierra Leone 3.40 2004
152 Rwanda 3.40 2012
154 Cuba 3.30 2013
154 Nepal 3.30 2013
154 Burkina Faso 3.30 2007
157 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.20 2014
158 Guatemala 3.00 2013
159 Papua New Guinea 2.90 2000
159 Tanzania 2.90 2013
159 Malaysia 2.90 2014
162 Bolivia 2.70 2011
163 Bhutan 2.60 2014
163 Liechtenstein 2.60 2013
165 Niger 2.40 2007
166 Uganda 1.90 2013
167 Vietnam 1.80 2014
168 Macao SAR, China 1.70 2014
168 Guinea 1.70 2012
168 Brunei 1.70 2011
168 Singapore 1.70 2014
172 Burundi 1.60 2008
173 Lao PDR 1.40 2005
174 Madagascar 1.30 2012
175 Bahrain 1.20 2012
176 Tonga 1.10 2006
177 Benin 1.00 2010
178 Thailand 0.80 2014
179 Chad 0.70 1993
180 Belarus 0.50 2014
181 Qatar 0.30 2013
181 Cambodia 0.30 2013

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Development Relevance: 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. Changes in unemployment over time may reflect changes in the demand for and supply of labor; they may also reflect changes in reporting practices. Paradoxically, low unemployment rates can disguise substantial poverty in a country, while high unemployment rates can occur in countries with a high level of economic development and low rates of poverty. In countries without unemployment or welfare benefits people eke out a living in vulnerable employment. In countries with well-developed safety nets workers can afford to wait for suitable or desirable jobs. But high and sustained unemployment indicates serious inefficiencies in resource allocation. 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 unemployment are drawn from labor force sample surveys, general household sample surveys, censuses, and official estimates, which are generally based on information from different sources and can be combined in many ways. Administrative records, such as social insurance statistics and employment office statistics, should be treated with care because of their limitations in coverage. 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. 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. There may be 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 count of both women and men although women may have a higher probability of being excluded from the count of unemployed because they suffer more from social barriers overall that impede them from meeting this criterion. There are situations where the conventional means of seeking work are of limited relevance - for example, in developing economies where the informal economy is rampant and where the labour force is largely self-employed. In such cases, the standard definition of unemployment would greatly undercount the untapped human resources of a country and would give a picture of the labour market that was more positive than reality would warrant.

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. 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. Data are based on labor force sample surveys, general household sample surveys, censuses, official estimates, and administrative records.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Data are based on labor force sample surveys, general household sample surveys, censuses, official estimates, and administrative records. The data may differ from the ILO estimates. Relevance to gender indicator: Women tend to be excluded from the unemployment 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. Furthermore, 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.