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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe


1. Definition

Name

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Brief definition

Unemployment rate is the ratio of unemployed people to the total labour force.

Unit of measure

%

2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator

Driving Force

3. Target and political pertinence

Objective

The indicator contributes to the definition of the socio-economic context of the area affected by desertification. The unemployment rate can be a measure of the unutilised labour supply of a region. It also indicates an important driving force for land abandonment processes.

Importance with respect to desertification

Unemployment, considered with other socio-economic indicators, provides the socio-economic capacity of the local community to combat against desertification.

International Conventions and agreements

The measurements of unemployment and the labour force are defined in the International Labour Office (ILO): Resolution concerning statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment, 13th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, Geneva, 1982.

Secondary objectives of the indicator

The unemployment rate, at both national and sub national levels, represents a fundamental indicator for national decision- makers.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts

The definitions for labour force, employed population, and unemployed population are well established by international agreements:

i) Labour Force: The current economically active population or labour force has two components: the employed and the unemployed population. The international standard definition of labour force established by the Thirteen International Conference of Labour Statisticians (International Labour Office (ILO), 1982) is based on the following elements:

-- The surveyed population: All usual residents (de jure population) or all persons present in the country at the time of the survey (de facto population). Some particular groups, such as the armed forces or other populations living in institutions, nomadic people, etc., may be excluded.

-- An age limit: In countries where compulsory schooling and legislation on the minimum age for admission to employment have broad coverage and are widely respected, the age specified in these regulations may be used as a basis for determining an appropriate minimum age limit for measuring the economically active population.

In other countries, the minimum age limit should be determined empirically on the basis of (i) the extent and intensity of participation in economic activities by young people, and (ii) the feasibility and cost of measuring such participation with acceptable accuracy. Some countries also determine a maximum age for inclusion in the labour force.

-- The involvement in economic activities during the survey reference period: The concept of economic activity adopted by the Thirteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (1982) is defined in terms of production of goods and services as set by the United Nations System of National Accounts, (revised in 1993).

-- A short reference period: For example, one week or a day.

ii) Employed population: According to the 1982 international definition of employment (ILO, 1983) the employed comprise all persons above the age specified for measuring the labour force, who were in the following categories:

-- Paid employment: (i) at work: persons who, during the reference period, performed some work (at least one hour) for wage or salary, in cash or in kind; (ii) with a job but not at work: persons who, having already worked in their present job, were temporarily not at work during the reference period but had a formal attachment to their job;

-- Self-employment: (i) at work: persons who, during the reference period, performed some work (at least one hour) for profit or family gain, in cash or in kind; (ii) with an enterprise but not at work: persons with an enterprise, which may be a business enterprise, a farm or a service undertaking, who were temporarily not at work during the reference period for some specific reason.

iii) Unemployed population: According to the 1982 international definition of employment (ILO, 1983) the unemployed comprise all persons above the age specified for measuring the labour force, who during the survey reference period were at the same time: (i) not in paid employment or self-employment, not even for an hour; (ii) available for work; and (iii) seeking work.

Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value

I° range: < Local Mean -St. Dev.

II° range: >Local Mean - St. Dev. < Local Mean

III° range: > Local Mean < Local Mean + St. Dev.

IV° range: > Local Mean + St. Dev

Methods of measurement

Household or labour force surveys are generally the most comprehensive and comparable sources for unemployment statistics. Other sources include population censuses, "employment office records" and "official estimates".

Limits of the indicator

In some countries, data based on registration at employment offices tend to understate unemployment, in comparison with household or labour force surveys, because not all persons who are looking for work will register on account of eligibility requirements. (These may exclude those who have never worked or have not worked in a recent period.) In some countries, on the contrary, registration data can overstate unemployment, largely because of irregular jobs that are not declared or also because of double-counting and failure to track persons registering, not all of whom may be job-seekers. Official estimates are often based on a combination of sources. Population censuses generally do not probe very deeply into labour force status, resulting in magnitudes of unemployment that differ substantially (either higher or lower) from those obtained from household surveys where more questions are asked.

The unemployment rate in many countries provides no information about the economic resources of the unemployed worker or the worker's family. The scope of unemployment should therefore be limited to its use as a measurement of the utilization of labour, and should not be extended to other spheres of the economy of a country. Broader measures, including income-related indicators, are needed to evaluate economic hardship.

Linkages with other indicators

There are close linkages between this indicator and other demographic and social indicators, such as GDP per capita, Population growth rate.

5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator

Labour force (total number of persons) and total number of unemployed persons, derived from the same survey.

Data sources

National and sub-national census data, as well as data from statistical yearbooks and other publications issued by the national statistical offices.

Availability of data from national and international sources

The data repositories used are national statistical offices. International Labour Office (ILO) Yearbook of Labour Statistics, OECD Labour Force Statistics, and ILO Digest of Caribbean Labour.

6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible

The lead agency is the International Labour Office (ILO) of the United Nations, located in Geneva.

Other contributing organizations

Universities of Basilicata, Lisbon, Murcia, Athens, Amsterdam, Leeds

7. Additional information

Bibliography

Surveys of Economically Active Population, Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment -An ILO Manual on Concepts and Methods, ILO, Geneva, 1992.

Sources and Methods: Labour Statistics, Volumes 3 and 5, ILO, Geneva, 1991 and 1990, currently updated.

Other references

Statistical yearbooks and other publications issued by the national statistical offices.

Yearbook of Labour Statistics, ILO, Geneva;

Bulletin of Labour Statistics (quarterly) and its Supplement (January/February, April/May, July/August and October/November), ILO, Geneva.

System of National Accounts 1993, Commission of the European Communities, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co?operation and Development, United Nations, World Bank, Brussels/Luxembourg, New York, Paris, Washington, D.C., 1993.

Current international recommendations on labour statistics, ILO, Geneva, 1988. See particularly the Resolution Concerning Statistics of the Economically Active Population, Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment, adopted by the Thirteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (October 1982).

Internet sites:

For 1999 Key Indicators of the Labour Market, Geneva, 1999:

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/strat/polemp/kilm/

For the text of the resolution concerning statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment see:

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/res/ecacpop.htm

For the ILO database on labour statistics, see http://laborsta.ilo.org.

Contacts Name and address

University of Basilicata
Prof Giovanni Quaranta
email: quaranta@unibas.it