Labor > Unemployment > Regional unemployment > National unemployment rate: Group totals

DEFINITION: Unemployed persons are defined as those who report that they are without work, that they are available for work and that they have taken active steps to find work in the last four weeks preceding the survey. The ILO Guidelines specify what actions count as active steps to find work and these include answering vacancy notices, visiting factories, construction sites and other places of work, and placing advertisements in the press as well as registering with labour offices.

The unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force, where the latter consists of unemployed and employed persons.

When unemployment is high, some persons become discouraged and stop looking for work. They are then excluded from the labour force so that the unemployment rate may fall, or stop rising, even though there has been no underlying improvement in the labour market.

The Gini index offers an accurate picture of regional disparities. It looks not only at the regions with the highest and the lowest rates of unemployment but also at the differences among all regions. The index ranges between 0 and 1: the higher its value, the larger the regional disparities. Regional disparities tend to be underestimated when the size of regions is large.

The youth unemployment rate is defined as the ratio between the unemployed person aged between 15 and 24 and the labour force in the same age group.


High income OECD countries 171.68% 2009
Group of 7 countries (G7) 46.78% 2009