Employment to population ratio, 15+, total (%) (modeled ILO estimate)
Definition: Employment to population ratio is the proportion of a country's population that is employed. Employment is defined as persons of working age who, during a short reference period, were engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit, whether at work during the reference period (i.e. who worked in a job for at least one hour) or not at work due to temporary absence from a job, or to working-time arrangements. Ages 15 and older are generally considered the working-age population.
Description: The map below shows how Employment to population ratio, 15+, total (%) (modeled ILO estimate) varies by country. 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 world is Qatar, with a value of 87.07. The country with the lowest value in the world is Djibouti, with a value of 22.51.
Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database. Data retrieved in September 2019.
Development Relevance: Four targets were added to the UN Millennium Declaration at the 2005 World Summit High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly. One was full and productive employment and decent work for all, which is seen as the main route for people to escape poverty. Employment to population ratio is a key measure to monitor whether a country is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. And it continues to be a priority in the Sustainable Development Goal of promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Limitations and Exceptions: Data on employment by status are drawn from labor force surveys and household surveys, supplemented by official estimates and censuses for a small group of countries. The labor force survey is the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable employment, but there are still some limitations for comparing data across countries and over time even within a country. Comparability of employment ratios across countries is affected by variations in definitions of employment and population. The biggest difference results from the age range used to define labor force activity. The population base for employment ratios can also vary. Most countries use the resident, non-institutionalized population of working age living in private households, which excludes members of the armed forces and individuals residing in mental, penal, or other types of institutions. But some countries include members of the armed forces in the population base of their employment ratio while excluding them from employment data. The reference period of a census or survey is another important source of differences: in some countries data refer to people's status on the day of the census or survey or during a specific period before the inquiry date, while in others data are recorded without reference to any period. Employment ratios tend to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave. This indicator also has a gender bias because women who do not consider their work employment or who are not perceived as working tend to be undercounted. This bias has different effects across countries and reflects demographic, social, legal, and cultural trends and norms.
Statistical Concept and Methodology: The employment to population ratio indicates how efficiently an economy provides jobs for people who want to work. A high ratio means that a large proportion of the population is employed. But a lower employment to population ratio can be seen as a positive sign, especially for young people, if it is caused by an increase in their education. The series is part of the ILO estimates and is harmonized to ensure comparability across countries and over time by accounting for differences in data source, scope of coverage, methodology, and other country-specific factors. The 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.
Aggregation method: Weighted average
General Comments: National estimates are also available in the WDI database. Caution should be used when comparing ILO estimates with national estimates.