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 November 2017.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Djibouti 59.50 2002
2 Kiribati 30.60 2010
3 Swaziland 28.20 2007
4 South Africa 26.60 2016
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina 25.10 2016
6 Lesotho 24.60 2013
7 Equatorial Guinea 24.20 1983
8 Macedonia 23.70 2016
9 Greece 23.50 2016
10 Namibia 23.40 2016
11 Nauru 23.00 2011
12 Grenada 22.90 2015
13 St. Lucia 21.30 2016
14 Gabon 20.40 2010
15 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 19.80 1991
16 Spain 19.60 2016
17 Libya 19.00 2012
18 Armenia 18.00 2016
19 Botswana 17.90 2010
20 Montenegro 17.70 2016
21 Ethiopia 17.10 2016
22 Tuvalu 16.30 2004
23 The Bahamas 16.20 2013
24 Tunisia 15.50 2016
25 Oman 15.40 2016
26 Serbia 15.30 2016
27 Albania 15.20 2016
28 Syrian Arab Republic 14.90 2011
29 New Caledonia 14.60 2014
30 Haiti 14.10 2012
31 São Tomé and Principe 13.60 2012
32 Yemen 13.50 2014
33 Jamaica 13.20 2016
34 Croatia 13.10 2016
35 Sudan 13.00 2009
35 Cyprus 13.00 2016
37 Iran 12.40 2016
37 Egypt 12.40 2016
39 Kenya 12.20 2009
40 Jordan 11.90 2014
41 Puerto Rico 11.80 2016
41 Guyana 11.80 2002
41 Georgia 11.80 2016
44 Italy 11.70 2016
45 Brazil 11.60 2016
46 Tajikistan 11.50 2009
47 Zimbabwe 11.30 2014
48 Portugal 11.10 2016
49 Timor-Leste 11.00 2013
49 Dominica 11.00 2001
51 Turkey 10.80 2016
52 Cabo Verde 10.70 2010
53 Algeria 10.20 2016
54 France 10.10 2016
54 Mauritania 10.10 2012
56 Congo 10.00 2012
57 Barbados 9.70 2016
57 Slovak Republic 9.70 2016
57 Mali 9.70 2016
60 Latvia 9.60 2016
61 Ukraine 9.40 2016
61 The Gambia 9.40 2012
61 Morocco 9.40 2016
64 Greenland 9.10 2015
65 Costa Rica 9.00 2016
66 Finland 8.80 2016
67 Samoa 8.70 2014
68 Colombia 8.40 2016
68 Antigua and Barbuda 8.40 2001
70 Afghanistan 8.20 2011
71 Slovenia 8.00 2016
71 Iraq 8.00 2011
73 Belize 7.90 2016
73 Ireland 7.90 2016
73 Lithuania 7.90 2016
76 Belgium 7.80 2016
76 Uruguay 7.80 2016
76 Zambia 7.80 2012
79 Paraguay 7.70 2016
80 Bulgaria 7.60 2016
81 Angola 7.40 2011
82 Mauritius 7.30 2016
82 Argentina 7.30 2014
84 Kyrgyz Republic 7.20 2016
84 Suriname 7.20 2015
84 Mongolia 7.20 2016
87 Nigeria 7.10 2016
88 Sweden 7.00 2016
88 Brunei 7.00 2014
88 Canada 7.00 2016
91 Estonia 6.80 2016
91 Venezuela 6.80 2015
93 Chile 6.70 2016
94 Peru 6.60 2016
95 Burkina Faso 6.50 2014
96 San Marino 6.40 2016
96 Lebanon 6.40 2009
98 Luxembourg 6.30 2016
98 Monaco 6.30 2016
100 Poland 6.20 2016
100 Fiji 6.20 2014
100 Denmark 6.20 2016
103 Malawi 6.00 2013
103 Netherlands 6.00 2016
103 Austria 6.00 2016
106 Romania 5.90 2016
106 Dominican Republic 5.90 2015
108 Australia 5.70 2016
109 Russia 5.60 2015
109 Saudi Arabia 5.60 2016
111 Vanuatu 5.50 2009
112 St. Kitts and Nevis 5.10 2001
112 Hungary 5.10 2016
112 New Zealand 5.10 2016
115 Azerbaijan 5.00 2016
115 Kazakhstan 5.00 2016
117 Switzerland 4.90 2016
117 United States 4.90 2016
119 Israel 4.80 2016
119 United Kingdom 4.80 2016
119 Senegal 4.80 2015
122 Honduras 4.70 2016
122 Norway 4.70 2016
122 Sierra Leone 4.70 2014
122 Malta 4.70 2016
126 Ecuador 4.60 2016
126 Guinea 4.60 2002
126 Comoros 4.60 2004
129 Nicaragua 4.50 2014
130 Sri Lanka 4.40 2016
130 Panama 4.40 2016
130 Bangladesh 4.40 2016
130 Seychelles 4.40 2015
130 El Salvador 4.40 2016
135 Cameroon 4.30 2014
136 Palau 4.20 2005
136 Moldova 4.20 2016
136 Cayman Islands 4.20 2015
139 Germany 4.10 2016
139 China 4.10 2014
139 Singapore 4.10 2016
139 Indonesia 4.10 2016
143 Czech Republic 4.00 2016
143 Turkmenistan 4.00 2010
145 Mexico 3.90 2016
146 Korea 3.70 2016
146 Dem. Rep. Congo 3.70 2005
148 Kuwait 3.60 2011
148 Pakistan 3.60 2015
150 Trinidad and Tobago 3.40 2015
150 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.40 2016
150 Malaysia 3.40 2016
153 Japan 3.10 2016
153 Bolivia 3.10 2015
155 Iceland 3.00 2016
155 Nepal 3.00 2014
155 Mozambique 3.00 2015
158 Guatemala 2.80 2016
159 Cuba 2.70 2014
159 India 2.70 2012
159 Philippines 2.70 2016
162 Côte d'Ivoire 2.60 2016
162 Benin 2.60 2011
162 Liechtenstein 2.60 2013
162 Papua New Guinea 2.60 2011
166 Bhutan 2.40 2015
167 Liberia 2.30 2010
168 Ghana 2.20 2013
169 Vietnam 2.10 2016
169 Tanzania 2.10 2014
171 Macao SAR, China 2.00 2016
171 Solomon Islands 2.00 2009
173 Togo 1.90 2011
173 Uganda 1.90 2013
175 Madagascar 1.80 2015
176 Burundi 1.60 2014
176 United Arab Emirates 1.60 2016
178 Bahrain 1.20 2012
178 Rwanda 1.20 2014
180 Tonga 1.10 2006
181 Belarus 1.00 2015
182 Myanmar 0.80 2015
183 Lao PDR 0.70 2010
184 Thailand 0.60 2015
185 Uzbekistan 0.40 2008
186 Niger 0.30 2011
187 Cambodia 0.20 2014
188 Qatar 0.10 2016

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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.