What is the Unemployment Rate?

What is the Unemployment Rate?

The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed workers in the total labor force. Workers are considered unemployed if they currently do not work, despite the fact that they are able and willing to do so. The total labor force consists of all employed and unemployed people within an economy.

The unemployment rate provides insights into the economy’s spare capacity and unused resources. Unemployment tends to be cyclical and decreases when the economy expands as companies contract more workers to meet growing demand. Unemployment usually increases as economic activity slows.

There are different types of unemployment: Frictional unemployment refers to temporary unemployment during the period when people are searching for a job. Structural unemployment is a mismatch between workers’ skills or locations and job requirements. Seasonal unemployment is caused by seasonal patterns in economic activity, such as harvesting or tourism.

The methodology for calculating the unemployment rate often varies among countries since different definitions of employment and unemployment, as well as different data sources, are used.

The table below shows the unemployment rate by country for the last five years.

Looking for forecasts? FocusEconomics Consensus Forecasts cover approx. 30 macro-economic indicators per country for a 5-year forecast period and quarterly forecasts for the most important economic variables. Get Details.

Unemployment Data

20122013201420152016
Albania14.117.118.017.7-  
Algeria11.09.810.611.210.5
Argentina7.27.17.37.18.4
Armenia15.716.217.819.517.1
Australia5.25.76.16.15.7
Austria4.44.95.65.86.0
Azerbaijan0.80.80.60.6-  
Bahrain3.94.34.14.2-  
Bangladesh-  -  -  4.14.1
Belarus0.50.50.51.00.8
Belgium7.68.58.58.57.8
Belize16.114.112.110.28.0
Bolivia3.24.04.04.0-  
Bosnia and Herzegovina28.027.527.527.7-  
Brazil7.47.16.88.511.5
Brunei1.71.71.71.92.0
Bulgaria11.511.810.710.08.0
Canada7.37.16.96.97.0
Chile6.56.06.36.36.5
China4.14.14.14.14.0
Colombia10.49.69.18.99.2
Costa Rica7.88.39.79.69.5
Croatia20.921.619.617.214.8
Cyprus11.915.916.214.913.1
Czech Republic6.87.77.76.55.5
Denmark6.05.64.94.54.2
Dominican Republic14.715.014.514.013.3
Ecuador4.14.04.34.35.4
Egypt12.713.313.212.812.6
El Salvador6.15.97.0-  -  
Estonia10.08.67.36.2-  
Eurozone11.412.011.610.910.0
Finland7.78.28.79.48.8
France9.810.310.310.410.0
Germany6.86.96.76.46.1
Ghana-  -  -  -  -  
Greece24.627.526.525.023.5
Hungary11.010.17.76.15.1
Iceland6.05.45.04.03.0
Indonesia6.16.25.96.25.6
Iran-  -  -  11.812.5
Iraq15.315.115.015.516.1
Ireland14.713.111.39.57.9
Israel6.86.35.95.34.8
Italy10.712.112.611.911.7
Jamaica13.715.213.713.513.3
Japan4.34.03.63.43.1
Jordan12.212.611.913.115.3
Kazakhstan5.35.25.05.14.9
Korea3.23.13.53.63.7
Kosovo30.930.035.3-  -  
Kuwait2.12.12.12.12.1
Latvia14.911.910.99.99.7
Lebanon6.26.5-  6.56.8
Lithuania13.211.410.18.87.6
Luxembourg6.16.97.16.86.4
Macedonia31.029.028.026.123.7
Malaysia3.03.12.93.13.5
Malta6.36.45.85.44.7
Mexico4.44.33.84.03.4
Moldova5.94.13.54.23.8
Mongolia8.27.97.98.07.9
Montenegro-  -  -  -  -  
Morocco9.09.29.99.69.5
Myanmar5.45.25.15.04.8
Netherlands5.87.37.46.96.0
New Zealand6.45.85.45.45.1
Nicaragua5.95.76.86.0-  
Nigeria7.67.14.84.35.0
Norway3.23.53.54.44.8
Oman7.47.37.217.317.5
Pakistan6.06.06.05.96.0
Panama4.14.14.85.15.5
Paraguay4.95.06.05.57.4
Peru6.86.05.96.56.7
Philippines7.07.16.86.35.5
Poland13.413.411.49.78.3
Portugal15.816.514.112.711.2
Puerto Rico15.214.014.313.011.7
Qatar0.50.30.20.20.2
Romania6.97.16.86.85.9
Russia5.55.55.25.65.5
Saudi Arabia5.65.65.85.75.6
Serbia23.922.119.217.715.3
Singapore2.01.92.01.92.1
Slovakia14.014.213.211.59.7
Slovenia8.910.29.79.08.0
South Africa24.924.725.125.426.7
Spain24.826.124.422.119.6
Sri Lanka4.04.44.44.74.4
Sweden8.08.07.97.47.0
Switzerland2.93.23.03.23.3
Taiwan4.24.24.03.83.9
Tajikistan2.42.42.42.22.3
Thailand0.50.60.60.70.8
Trinidad and Tobago5.03.73.33.4-  
Tunisia17.415.815.015.215.5
Turkey8.49.110.010.310.9
USA8.17.46.25.34.9
Ukraine7.57.29.39.19.4
United Arab Emirates4.14.04.03.83.7
United Kingdom8.07.66.25.44.9
Uruguay6.36.56.67.57.9
Venezuela7.87.57.06.8-  
Vietnam3.23.63.43.4-  

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Unemployment Economic News

  • Australia: Unemployment rate dips to fresh multi-year low in October

    November 16, 2017

    Seasonally-adjusted employment increased by 3,700 in October compared to the prior month, down from the revised 26,600 jobs created in September (previously reported: +19,800 jobs) and sharply undershooting analysts’ expectations.

    Read more

  • United Kingdom: Unemployment rate remains at multi-decade low in the July-September period

    November 15, 2017

    Jobless claims rose by 1,100 in October according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), compared to a revised increase of 2,600 in September (previously reported: +1,700) and undershooting analysts’ expectations. The unemployment rate—derived from a different survey—remained at 4.3% in the July-September period (the latest period for which data is available), matching market expectations and marking the joint-lowest rate since 1975.

    Read more

  • Greece: Unemployment rate falls in August

    November 9, 2017

    The number of unemployed fell by 16,769 in August from the previous month and by 141,342 compared with August 2016, according to recent data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT). Accordingly, the unemployment rate fell from July’s revised 20.9% (previously reported: 21.0%) to 20.6%, a multi-year low.

    Read more

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