Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (modeled ILO estimate) - Country Ranking

Definition: Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment.

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 Solomon Islands 31.40 2017
2 The Gambia 29.80 2017
3 Lesotho 29.20 2017
4 South Africa 27.30 2017
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina 25.80 2017
6 Swaziland 25.70 2017
7 Mozambique 24.50 2017
8 Macedonia 24.40 2017
9 Greece 23.10 2017
10 St. Lucia 22.30 2017
10 Namibia 22.30 2017
12 Comoros 20.10 2017
13 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 18.80 2017
14 Gabon 18.50 2017
15 Botswana 18.10 2017
16 Montenegro 17.70 2017
16 Libya 17.70 2017
18 Armenia 17.40 2017
18 Spain 17.40 2017
20 Oman 16.90 2017
21 Yemen 16.00 2017
22 Albania 15.00 2017
23 Jordan 14.90 2017
24 Iraq 14.80 2017
25 Tunisia 14.70 2017
26 New Caledonia 14.60 2017
27 Serbia 14.40 2017
28 Syrian Arab Republic 14.20 2017
29 Dominican Republic 13.80 2017
30 São Tomé and Principe 13.70 2017
31 Brazil 13.40 2017
31 Haiti 13.40 2017
33 Sudan 13.30 2017
34 Jamaica 13.00 2017
35 The Bahamas 12.60 2017
36 Puerto Rico 12.30 2017
37 Cyprus 11.90 2017
38 Algeria 11.70 2017
39 Egypt 11.60 2017
39 Italy 11.60 2017
41 Georgia 11.50 2017
41 Croatia 11.50 2017
41 Guyana 11.50 2017
44 Belize 11.40 2017
44 Congo 11.40 2017
44 Barbados 11.40 2017
44 Iran 11.40 2017
44 Turkey 11.40 2017
49 Kenya 11.00 2017
50 Tajikistan 10.80 2017
50 Morocco 10.80 2017
52 Cabo Verde 10.70 2017
53 Mauritania 10.20 2017
54 France 9.90 2017
54 Portugal 9.90 2017
56 Mali 9.70 2017
57 Senegal 9.50 2017
58 Latvia 9.40 2017
59 Côte d'Ivoire 9.20 2017
60 Colombia 9.10 2017
61 Slovak Republic 9.00 2017
61 Ukraine 9.00 2017
63 Suriname 8.90 2017
64 Uzbekistan 8.70 2017
65 Turkmenistan 8.60 2017
65 Finland 8.60 2017
67 Afghanistan 8.50 2017
67 Costa Rica 8.50 2017
69 Uruguay 8.30 2017
70 Argentina 8.10 2017
70 Lithuania 8.10 2017
70 Fiji 8.10 2017
73 Kyrgyz Republic 7.80 2017
74 Slovenia 7.50 2017
75 Belgium 7.40 2017
75 Zambia 7.40 2017
75 Mauritius 7.40 2017
78 Venezuela 7.30 2017
78 Estonia 7.30 2017
80 Sweden 7.20 2017
81 El Salvador 6.90 2017
81 Chile 6.90 2017
83 Peru 6.80 2017
84 Lebanon 6.70 2017
84 Equatorial Guinea 6.70 2017
84 Malawi 6.70 2017
87 Canada 6.60 2017
87 Samoa 6.60 2017
87 Eritrea 6.60 2017
90 Brunei 6.40 2017
90 Mongolia 6.40 2017
90 Central African Republic 6.40 2017
93 Denmark 6.30 2017
93 Guinea 6.30 2017
95 Nicaragua 6.20 2017
95 Togo 6.20 2017
95 Angola 6.20 2017
95 Ireland 6.20 2017
99 Djibouti 6.10 2017
99 Guinea-Bissau 6.10 2017
101 Luxembourg 6.00 2017
101 Bulgaria 6.00 2017
101 Somalia 6.00 2017
104 Romania 5.90 2017
104 Pakistan 5.90 2017
106 Chad 5.80 2017
106 Ghana 5.80 2017
108 Austria 5.70 2017
108 Honduras 5.70 2017
108 Australia 5.70 2017
108 Philippines 5.70 2017
112 Indonesia 5.60 2017
113 Nigeria 5.50 2017
113 Saudi Arabia 5.50 2017
113 Paraguay 5.50 2017
116 Kazakhstan 5.40 2017
116 Vanuatu 5.40 2017
116 Ethiopia 5.40 2017
119 Zimbabwe 5.30 2017
119 Russia 5.30 2017
121 Ecuador 5.20 2017
121 Israel 5.20 2017
121 New Zealand 5.20 2017
124 Poland 5.10 2017
124 Azerbaijan 5.10 2017
126 Netherlands 4.90 2017
126 United States 4.90 2017
126 Tonga 4.90 2017
129 Malta 4.80 2017
130 Panama 4.70 2017
130 United Kingdom 4.70 2017
132 Sri Lanka 4.60 2017
132 China 4.60 2017
134 Cameroon 4.50 2017
134 Switzerland 4.50 2017
134 Norway 4.50 2017
137 Trinidad and Tobago 4.40 2017
137 Moldova 4.40 2017
139 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 4.20 2017
139 Hungary 4.20 2017
141 Timor-Leste 4.10 2017
142 Bangladesh 4.00 2017
142 Liberia 4.00 2017
144 United Arab Emirates 3.80 2017
144 Germany 3.80 2017
144 Mexico 3.80 2017
147 Korea 3.70 2017
148 India 3.60 2017
148 Dem. Rep. Congo 3.60 2017
150 Bolivia 3.50 2017
150 Hong Kong SAR, China 3.50 2017
152 Malaysia 3.40 2017
152 Czech Republic 3.40 2017
154 Nepal 3.20 2017
155 Burkina Faso 3.00 2017
156 Japan 2.90 2017
157 Sierra Leone 2.80 2017
158 Tanzania 2.70 2017
158 Iceland 2.70 2017
160 Papua New Guinea 2.60 2017
160 Rwanda 2.60 2017
160 Guatemala 2.60 2017
160 Niger 2.60 2017
160 Cuba 2.60 2017
165 Madagascar 2.40 2017
165 Bhutan 2.40 2017
165 Kuwait 2.40 2017
168 Uganda 2.30 2017
169 Macao SAR, China 2.20 2017
169 Vietnam 2.20 2017
171 Singapore 2.10 2017
172 Burundi 1.60 2017
173 Lao PDR 1.50 2017
174 Bahrain 1.20 2017
175 Thailand 1.00 2017
175 Benin 1.00 2017
177 Myanmar 0.80 2017
178 Belarus 0.50 2017
179 Qatar 0.30 2017
179 Cambodia 0.30 2017

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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. 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

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Data up to 2016 are estimates while data from 2017 are projections. National estimates are also available in the WDI database. Caution should be used when comparing ILO estimates with national estimates.