Labor force, total - North America

Definition: Total labor force comprises people ages 15 and older who meet the International Labour Organization definition of the economically active population: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period. It includes both the employed and the unemployed. While national practices vary in the treatment of such groups as the armed forces and seasonal or part-time workers, in general the labor force includes the armed forces, the unemployed, and first-time job-seekers, but excludes homemakers and other unpaid caregivers and workers in the informal sector.

Description: The map below shows how Labor force, total varies by country in North America. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the region is United States, with a value of 161,048,900.00. The country with the lowest value in the region is Canada, with a value of 19,726,590.00.

Source: International Labour Organization, using World Bank population estimates.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Statistical Concept and Methodology: The labor force is the supply of labor available for producing goods and services in an economy. It includes people who are currently employed and people who are unemployed but seeking work as well as first-time job-seekers. Not everyone who works is included, however. Unpaid workers, family workers, and students are often omitted, and some countries do not count members of the armed forces. Labor force size tends to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave. Usually active population is measured in relation to a long reference period such as a year, and the currently active population (labor force) is measured in relation to a short reference period such as one day or one week. The labor force estimates were calculated by applying labor force participation rates from the ILO database to World Bank population estimates to create a series consistent with these population estimates. This procedure sometimes results in labor force estimates that differ slightly from those in the ILO's Yearbook of Labour Statistics and its database Key Indicators of the Labour Market. The labor force participation rates series includes both nationally reported and imputed data. These harmonized estimates use strict data selection criteria and enhanced methods to ensure comparability across countries and over time to avoid the inconsistencies mentioned resulting from data source, definition, reference period, coverage, and age group. Estimates are based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (population censuses and nationally reported estimates) used only when no survey data are available. Data on employment and unemployment are based on nationally reported data, and caution should be used when comparing the labor force participation rate against employment and unemployment data.

Aggregation method: Sum

Periodicity: Annual