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

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

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 Mauritania 31.00 2014
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina 27.90 2014
2 Macedonia 27.90 2014
4 Greece 26.30 2014
5 Lesotho 26.20 2014
6 South Africa 25.10 2014
7 Spain 24.70 2014
8 Mozambique 22.60 2014
9 Swaziland 22.30 2014
10 Serbia 22.20 2014
11 Gabon 19.70 2014
12 Libya 19.20 2014
13 Montenegro 19.10 2014
14 Namibia 18.60 2014
15 Botswana 18.20 2014
16 Yemen 17.40 2014
17 Armenia 17.10 2014
18 Croatia 16.70 2014
19 Iraq 16.40 2014
20 Albania 16.10 2014
21 Cyprus 15.60 2014
22 The Bahamas 15.40 2014
23 Dominican Republic 15.00 2014
24 Sudan 14.80 2014
25 Puerto Rico 14.30 2014
26 Portugal 14.20 2014
27 Georgia 13.40 2014
28 Slovak Republic 13.30 2014
28 Zambia 13.30 2014
28 Tunisia 13.30 2014
31 Jamaica 13.20 2014
31 Egypt 13.20 2014
33 Iran 12.80 2014
34 Italy 12.50 2014
35 Barbados 12.00 2014
36 Bulgaria 11.60 2014
36 Ireland 11.60 2014
38 Belize 11.50 2014
39 Lithuania 11.30 2014
40 Guyana 11.10 2014
40 Jordan 11.10 2014
42 Tajikistan 10.90 2014
43 Syrian Arab Republic 10.80 2014
44 Uzbekistan 10.60 2014
45 Turkmenistan 10.50 2014
46 Morocco 10.20 2014
47 Colombia 10.10 2014
48 Senegal 10.00 2014
48 Latvia 10.00 2014
50 France 9.90 2014
51 Algeria 9.50 2014
51 Slovenia 9.50 2014
53 Kenya 9.20 2014
53 Cabo Verde 9.20 2014
53 Poland 9.20 2014
53 Turkey 9.20 2014
57 Afghanistan 9.10 2014
58 Finland 8.60 2014
58 Venezuela 8.60 2014
60 Belgium 8.50 2014
61 Costa Rica 8.30 2014
62 Argentina 8.20 2014
63 Kyrgyz Republic 8.10 2014
63 Mali 8.10 2014
65 Dem. Rep. Congo 8.00 2014
65 Sweden 8.00 2014
67 Equatorial Guinea 7.90 2014
67 Fiji 7.90 2014
69 Hungary 7.80 2014
70 Estonia 7.70 2014
70 Mauritius 7.70 2014
70 Ukraine 7.70 2014
73 Nigeria 7.50 2014
73 Malawi 7.50 2014
75 Central African Republic 7.40 2014
76 Oman 7.20 2014
76 Eritrea 7.20 2014
78 Philippines 7.10 2014
79 Uruguay 7.00 2014
79 Romania 7.00 2014
79 The Gambia 7.00 2014
79 Chad 7.00 2014
83 Netherlands 6.90 2014
83 Somalia 6.90 2014
83 Togo 6.90 2014
83 Burundi 6.90 2014
83 Canada 6.90 2014
83 Guinea-Bissau 6.90 2014
89 Angola 6.80 2014
89 Haiti 6.80 2014
89 Brazil 6.80 2014
92 Denmark 6.60 2014
93 Congo 6.50 2014
93 Comoros 6.50 2014
95 Chile 6.40 2014
95 Lebanon 6.40 2014
97 United Kingdom 6.30 2014
98 Indonesia 6.20 2014
98 United States 6.20 2014
98 El Salvador 6.20 2014
98 Czech Republic 6.20 2014
102 Luxembourg 6.10 2014
102 Israel 6.10 2014
104 Australia 6.00 2014
105 Belarus 5.90 2014
105 Malta 5.90 2014
107 New Zealand 5.60 2014
107 Suriname 5.60 2014
107 Saudi Arabia 5.60 2014
110 Zimbabwe 5.40 2014
111 Nicaragua 5.30 2014
112 Ethiopia 5.20 2014
112 Azerbaijan 5.20 2014
112 Pakistan 5.20 2014
115 Russia 5.10 2014
115 Niger 5.10 2014
117 Iceland 5.00 2014
117 Austria 5.00 2014
117 Germany 5.00 2014
120 Mexico 4.90 2014
121 Mongolia 4.80 2014
122 China 4.70 2014
122 Timor-Leste 4.70 2014
124 Ecuador 4.60 2014
124 Sri Lanka 4.60 2014
126 Paraguay 4.50 2014
126 Switzerland 4.50 2014
128 Panama 4.30 2014
128 Cameroon 4.30 2014
128 Bangladesh 4.30 2014
131 Peru 4.20 2014
132 Kazakhstan 4.10 2014
132 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 4.10 2014
134 Côte d'Ivoire 4.00 2014
134 Trinidad and Tobago 4.00 2014
136 Honduras 3.90 2014
136 Solomon Islands 3.90 2014
136 Bahrain 3.90 2014
139 Uganda 3.80 2014
139 Brunei 3.80 2014
139 Liberia 3.80 2014
142 Japan 3.70 2014
143 United Arab Emirates 3.60 2014
143 India 3.60 2014
143 Madagascar 3.60 2014
146 Korea 3.50 2014
147 Norway 3.40 2014
147 Moldova 3.40 2014
149 Sierra Leone 3.30 2014
149 Cuba 3.30 2014
149 Myanmar 3.30 2014
152 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.20 2014
153 Burkina Faso 3.10 2014
153 Tanzania 3.10 2014
155 Singapore 3.00 2014
155 Kuwait 3.00 2014
157 Guatemala 2.90 2014
158 Bhutan 2.80 2014
159 Nepal 2.70 2014
159 Bolivia 2.70 2014
161 Papua New Guinea 2.50 2014
162 Ghana 2.40 2014
163 Vietnam 2.30 2014
164 Malaysia 2.00 2014
165 Guinea 1.80 2014
166 Macao SAR, China 1.50 2014
167 Lao PDR 1.40 2014
168 Benin 1.00 2014
169 Thailand 0.90 2014
170 Rwanda 0.60 2014
171 Cambodia 0.40 2014
172 Qatar 0.30 2014

More rankings: Africa | Asia | Central America & the Caribbean | Europe | Middle East | North America | Oceania | South America | World |

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: 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. The unemployment rates presented here are the ILO estimates from the ILO's Key Indicators of the Labour Market database. The ILO estimates are harmonized to account for inconsistencies resulting from data source, definition, reference period, coverage, age group, and collection methodologies. The adjusted rates are based on household labour force sample surveys and includes both nationally reported and imputed data. Caution should be used when comparing the ILO estimates against other national estimates such as employment data.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: The unemployment rates presented here are the ILO estimates from the ILO's Key Indicators of the Labour Market database. These harmonized estimates use strict data selection criteria and enhanced methods to ensure comparability across countries and over time. (Note: Before April 2014, this code was used for national estimates, which are also now available in the WDI database under a different code.) 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.