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, ILOSTAT database. Data retrieved in December 2019.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Malawi 28.67 2017
2 South Africa 26.92 2018
3 Equatorial Guinea 25.00 1983
4 Lesotho 24.58 2013
5 Grenada 22.90 2015
6 Eswatini 22.72 2016
7 St. Lucia 21.26 2016
8 North Macedonia 20.74 2018
9 Gabon 20.39 2010
10 Namibia 19.88 2018
11 Greece 19.29 2018
12 Libya 19.03 2012
13 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 18.79 2008
14 Botswana 17.86 2010
15 Sudan 17.44 2011
16 Haiti 16.80 2007
17 Armenia 16.18 2013
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina 15.69 2019
19 Tunisia 15.46 2018
20 Jordan 15.28 2016
21 Spain 15.25 2018
22 Montenegro 15.17 2018
23 Rwanda 15.11 2018
24 New Caledonia 14.59 2014
25 Samoa 14.47 2017
26 Albania 13.75 2017
27 São Tomé and Principe 13.59 2012
28 Algeria 13.57 2017
29 Yemen 13.47 2014
30 Nauru 13.28 2013
31 Iraq 13.02 2017
32 Serbia 12.73 2018
33 The Bahamas 12.70 2016
34 Georgia 12.67 2018
35 Brazil 12.33 2018
36 Cabo Verde 12.17 2018
37 Iran 12.06 2018
38 Guyana 12.01 2017
39 Egypt 11.74 2017
40 Zambia 11.63 2017
41 Nepal 11.36 2017
42 Zimbabwe 11.32 2014
43 Afghanistan 11.18 2017
44 Dominica 10.96 2001
45 Turkey 10.89 2018
46 Italy 10.61 2018
47 Costa Rica 10.14 2011
48 Congo 10.00 2012
49 Mauritania 9.86 2012
50 Barbados 9.72 2016
51 Uganda 9.44 2017
52 Angola 9.43 2010
53 The Gambia 9.42 2012
54 Lao PDR 9.41 2017
55 Kiribati 9.33 2015
56 Brunei 9.32 2017
57 Morocco 9.30 2016
57 Uzbekistan 9.30 2018
59 Argentina 9.22 2018
60 Puerto Rico 9.20 2018
61 Colombia 9.11 2018
62 Jamaica 9.10 2018
63 Greenland 9.10 2015
64 France 9.06 2018
65 Ukraine 8.80 2018
66 Syrian Arab Republic 8.61 2010
67 Tuvalu 8.49 2016
68 Croatia 8.43 2018
69 Antigua and Barbuda 8.42 2001
70 Nigeria 8.39 2017
71 Cyprus 8.37 2018
72 Uruguay 8.34 2018
73 Comoros 8.14 2014
74 Venezuela 7.54 2013
75 Latvia 7.41 2018
76 Finland 7.36 2018
77 Chile 7.23 2018
78 Suriname 7.22 2015
79 Mali 7.11 2018
80 Portugal 6.99 2018
81 Tajikistan 6.90 2016
82 Senegal 6.76 2015
83 Belize 6.60 2017
84 Slovak Republic 6.54 2018
85 Burkina Faso 6.48 2014
86 San Marino 6.45 2016
87 Peru 6.43 2018
88 Mauritius 6.43 2018
89 Lebanon 6.35 2009
90 Sweden 6.35 2018
91 Monaco 6.33 2016
92 Paraguay 6.22 2018
93 Lithuania 6.15 2018
94 Saudi Arabia 6.04 2018
95 Kyrgyz Republic 5.96 2018
96 Belgium 5.95 2018
97 Dominican Republic 5.83 2017
98 Canada 5.83 2018
99 Ireland 5.74 2018
100 Honduras 5.65 2018
101 Luxembourg 5.59 2018
102 Mongolia 5.38 2018
103 Estonia 5.37 2018
104 India 5.33 2018
105 Australia 5.30 2018
106 Bulgaria 5.21 2018
107 St. Kitts and Nevis 5.12 2001
108 Slovenia 5.11 2018
109 Denmark 4.97 2018
110 Kazakhstan 4.90 2017
110 Azerbaijan 4.90 2018
112 Austria 4.85 2018
113 Russia 4.85 2018
114 Belarus 4.76 2018
115 Switzerland 4.71 2018
116 Sierra Leone 4.68 2014
117 Timor-Leste 4.66 2016
118 Vanuatu 4.56 2009
119 Guinea 4.55 2002
120 Nicaragua 4.52 2014
121 Indonesia 4.51 2018
122 Dem. Rep. Congo 4.49 2012
123 Bangladesh 4.37 2017
124 Fiji 4.32 2016
125 New Zealand 4.30 2018
126 Cayman Islands 4.24 2015
127 Ghana 4.22 2017
128 Singapore 4.20 2017
129 Romania 4.19 2018
130 Sri Lanka 4.18 2017
131 Pakistan 4.08 2018
132 El Salvador 4.01 2018
133 Turkmenistan 4.00 2010
133 Bahrain 4.00 2011
135 Israel 4.00 2018
136 United Kingdom 4.00 2018
137 United States 3.90 2018
138 Panama 3.89 2018
139 Poland 3.85 2018
140 Netherlands 3.83 2018
141 Korea 3.82 2018
142 China 3.80 2018
143 Norway 3.80 2018
144 Hungary 3.71 2018
145 Malta 3.66 2018
146 Cameroon 3.53 2014
146 Bolivia 3.53 2018
148 Ecuador 3.53 2018
149 Seychelles 3.53 2018
150 Mozambique 3.43 2015
151 Germany 3.38 2018
152 Mexico 3.28 2018
153 Malaysia 3.28 2018
154 Côte d'Ivoire 3.27 2017
155 Trinidad and Tobago 3.21 2016
156 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.09 2017
157 Liberia 3.08 2016
158 Moldova 2.98 2018
159 Kenya 2.76 2016
160 Iceland 2.70 2018
161 Benin 2.65 2011
162 Papua New Guinea 2.62 2011
163 Guatemala 2.46 2017
164 Bhutan 2.45 2015
165 Japan 2.40 2018
165 Cuba 2.40 2015
167 Philippines 2.34 2018
168 Ethiopia 2.25 2013
169 Czech Republic 2.24 2018
170 United Arab Emirates 2.23 2018
171 Togo 2.20 2015
172 Kuwait 2.16 2016
173 Tanzania 2.12 2014
174 Liechtenstein 2.01 2007
175 Macao SAR, China 2.00 2017
176 Vietnam 2.00 2018
177 Oman 1.80 2018
178 Burundi 1.57 2014
179 Palau 1.36 2014
180 Tonga 1.09 2006
181 Myanmar 0.87 2018
182 Cambodia 0.72 2016
183 Chad 0.70 1993
184 Solomon Islands 0.69 2013
185 Madagascar 0.60 2012
186 Niger 0.52 2014
187 Thailand 0.49 2013
188 Qatar 0.11 2018

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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.