Unemployment, female (% of female 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, ILOSTAT database. Data retrieved in November 2017.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Djibouti 68.60 2002
2 Lesotho 38.80 2008
3 Kiribati 34.10 2010
4 Swaziland 31.20 2007
5 South Africa 29.00 2016
6 Gabon 28.50 2010
7 Greece 28.10 2016
8 Yemen 26.10 2014
9 Nauru 25.50 2011
10 Ethiopia 25.10 2016
11 Namibia 25.00 2016
11 Libya 25.00 2012
13 São Tomé and Principe 24.50 2006
14 Egypt 23.60 2016
15 St. Lucia 23.50 2016
16 Tunisia 23.10 2016
17 Sudan 23.00 2009
18 Macedonia 22.70 2016
19 Cabo Verde 22.60 1990
20 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 22.10 1991
21 Syrian Arab Republic 22.00 2010
22 Grenada 21.80 1998
23 Spain 21.40 2016
23 Botswana 21.40 2010
25 Saudi Arabia 21.10 2016
26 Jordan 20.70 2014
26 Iran 20.70 2016
28 Iraq 19.60 2008
29 Equatorial Guinea 18.50 1983
30 Algeria 18.20 2016
31 Armenia 17.80 2016
32 Jamaica 17.40 2016
33 Haiti 17.30 2012
34 Albania 17.10 2015
34 Montenegro 17.10 2016
36 Afghanistan 16.40 2011
37 The Bahamas 16.30 2013
38 Serbia 16.10 2016
39 New Caledonia 15.60 2014
40 Guyana 15.30 2002
41 Zimbabwe 14.90 2014
42 Croatia 13.80 2016
43 Turkey 13.60 2016
43 Belize 13.60 2016
45 Brazil 13.40 2016
46 Cyprus 13.30 2016
47 Italy 12.80 2016
48 Mauritania 12.60 2012
48 The Gambia 12.60 2012
50 Kenya 12.20 2009
51 Costa Rica 11.50 2016
52 Mali 11.40 2016
52 Suriname 11.40 2015
54 Mauritius 11.20 2016
54 Portugal 11.20 2016
56 Morocco 10.90 2016
57 Slovak Republic 10.80 2016
57 Congo 10.80 2012
59 Colombia 10.60 2016
59 Timor-Leste 10.60 2013
61 Tajikistan 10.50 2009
62 Lebanon 10.40 2009
63 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10.30 2016
63 Samoa 10.30 2014
65 Barbados 10.00 2016
65 San Marino 10.00 2016
67 France 9.80 2016
68 Puerto Rico 9.70 2015
69 Uruguay 9.40 2016
69 Dominica 9.40 2001
71 Burkina Faso 9.30 2014
71 Greenland 9.30 2015
71 Paraguay 9.30 2016
74 Dominican Republic 9.00 2015
75 Antigua and Barbuda 8.80 2001
75 Georgia 8.80 2016
77 Kyrgyz Republic 8.70 2016
77 Monaco 8.70 2016
79 Zambia 8.60 2012
79 Slovenia 8.60 2016
79 Tuvalu 8.60 2002
79 Finland 8.60 2016
83 Fiji 8.50 2014
84 Latvia 8.40 2016
84 Argentina 8.40 2014
86 Ukraine 8.10 2015
87 Nigeria 8.00 2016
88 Brunei 7.90 2014
89 Angola 7.70 2011
89 Venezuela 7.70 2015
91 Belgium 7.60 2016
92 Tonga 7.40 2003
93 Peru 7.30 2016
93 Bangladesh 7.30 2016
93 Chile 7.30 2016
96 Sri Lanka 7.00 2016
96 Bulgaria 7.00 2016
98 Malawi 6.90 2013
99 Denmark 6.60 2016
99 Lithuania 6.60 2016
99 Luxembourg 6.60 2016
99 Sweden 6.60 2016
103 Ireland 6.50 2016
103 Netherlands 6.50 2016
105 Poland 6.20 2016
105 Vanuatu 6.20 2009
105 Canada 6.20 2016
108 Pakistan 6.10 2015
108 Estonia 6.10 2016
110 Azerbaijan 6.00 2016
111 Mongolia 5.90 2016
111 Kazakhstan 5.90 2013
113 Australia 5.80 2016
113 Ecuador 5.80 2016
115 Panama 5.60 2016
115 Nicaragua 5.60 2014
117 New Zealand 5.50 2016
117 Honduras 5.50 2016
117 Austria 5.50 2016
120 Russia 5.30 2015
120 Cameroon 5.30 2014
122 Cayman Islands 5.20 2015
122 Malta 5.20 2016
122 Seychelles 5.20 2015
125 Hungary 5.10 2016
126 Romania 5.00 2016
126 Switzerland 5.00 2016
128 Israel 4.90 2016
128 Senegal 4.90 2015
128 Comoros 4.90 2004
128 Palau 4.90 2005
132 United States 4.80 2016
133 Czech Republic 4.70 2016
133 United Kingdom 4.70 2016
135 Singapore 4.50 2016
136 St. Kitts and Nevis 4.30 2001
137 Trinidad and Tobago 4.10 2015
138 United Arab Emirates 4.00 2016
139 Sierra Leone 3.90 2014
139 Norway 3.90 2016
139 Bahrain 3.90 2012
139 Mexico 3.90 2016
139 Guatemala 3.90 2016
139 Malaysia 3.90 2016
145 El Salvador 3.80 2016
145 Bolivia 3.80 2015
147 India 3.70 2012
147 Germany 3.70 2016
147 Indonesia 3.70 2016
150 Guinea 3.60 2002
150 Korea 3.60 2016
152 Côte d'Ivoire 3.40 2016
152 Nepal 3.40 2014
154 Bhutan 3.20 2015
155 Mozambique 3.10 2015
155 Liechtenstein 3.10 2013
155 Cuba 3.10 2014
158 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.00 2016
158 Iceland 3.00 2016
160 Philippines 2.90 2016
160 Benin 2.90 2011
160 Moldova 2.90 2016
163 Kuwait 2.80 2010
163 Japan 2.80 2016
165 Tanzania 2.70 2014
166 Uganda 2.40 2013
166 Ghana 2.40 2013
168 Liberia 2.30 2010
168 Turkmenistan 2.30 2010
170 Vietnam 1.90 2016
171 Solomon Islands 1.80 2009
172 Togo 1.60 2011
173 Oman 1.50 2016
173 Macao SAR, China 1.50 2016
175 Papua New Guinea 1.40 2011
176 Burundi 1.20 2014
176 Rwanda 1.20 2014
178 Myanmar 0.90 2015
179 Qatar 0.70 2016
179 Lao PDR 0.70 2010
179 Belarus 0.70 2015
182 Thailand 0.60 2015
182 Madagascar 0.60 2012
184 Uzbekistan 0.50 1995
185 Niger 0.20 2011
185 Cambodia 0.20 2014

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Development Relevance: 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. Youth unemployment is an important policy issue for many economies. Young men and women today face increasing uncertainty in their hopes of undergoing a satisfactory transition in the labour market, and this uncertainty and disillusionment can, in turn, have damaging effects on individuals, communities, economies and society at large. Unemployed or underemployed youth are less able to contribute effectively to national development and have fewer opportunities to exercise their rights as citizens. They have less to spend as consumers, less to invest as savers and often have no "voice" to bring about change in their lives and communities. Widespread youth unemployment and underemployment also prevents companies and countries from innovating and developing competitive advantages based on human capital investment, thus undermining future prospects. Unemployment is a key measure to monitor whether a country is on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. [SDG Indicator 8.5.2]

Limitations and Exceptions: 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 cases it is especially difficult to measure employment and unemployment in agriculture. The timing of a survey 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 also 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 unemployment count of both women and men. However, women tend to be excluded from the 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. Further, 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.

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, including people who have lost their jobs or who have voluntarily left work. Persons who did not look for work but have an arrangements for a future job are also counted as unemployed. 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. 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: The series for ILO estimates is also available in the WDI database. Caution should be used when comparing ILO estimates with national estimates.