Field Detail
Theme Population and Development
Code PD-LF-1.2
Sub-theme Labour Force
Name Unemployment Rate
Definition The UR is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons in the labour force. The unemployed comprises all persons of working age who were (a) without work during a specific reference period (in the Pacific usually referred to as one week prior to census /survey), that is were not in paid employment or self-employment; (b) currently available for work, that is were available for paid employment or self-employment during the reference period; and (c) seeking work, that is, had taken active steps in a specified recent period to seek paid employment or self-employment (ILO, 2012:47). Note: SPC amended this definition in consultation with ILO, to also include people as unemployed, who were not actively looking for work because they know no jobs were available/to be found, or who were discouraged to look for work and experience constant rejections (because no jobs are available).
Calculation/Formula Number of unemployed people in the working age-population / number of people in the Labor force x 100
Unit of Measure %
Range (eg Age) 15+ years
Intended Direction of change Decrease
Purpose/Rationale The unemployment rate (UR) signals to some extent the underutilization of the labour supply. It reflects the inability of an economy to generate employment for those persons who want to work but are not doing so, even though they are available for employment and actively seeking work. It is thus seen as an indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of an economy to absorb its labour force and of the performance of the labour market (ILO, 2012). Furthermore, it provides supplementary information for assessments of well-being and poverty.
Policy Linkages National Development Plans, National Sustainable Development Frameworks
Preferred Data Sources Labor force survey or unemployment registers (as those available in French Pacific territories).
Alternative_Data Sources Other household surveys (DHS, HIES), preferably with inclusion of specific labor force module; population censuses.
Census - HIES - DHS tag Census / HIES
Primary Data Collection System Survey - National Statistics Office
Frequency of Data Collection 5-10 years
SPC Responsibility - Data Management SDP
Country Specific Issues Age range is not 15+ for some countries : Palau : 16+/ PNG: 10+
SPC Programme SDP
Numerator Number of unemployed people in the working age-population
Denominator Number of people in the Labor force
Factor x 100
Unit %