Global employment to population ratio with data from ILO


The above diagram displays the number of all employed persons in the world divided by all persons in the world (i.e. the socalled "employment to population ration") within the respective age and gender groups over time. "Employment" includes paid and self-employment (which includes unpaid family workers). The numbers are annual estimates made by the International Labour Organisation which are based on real data, like household surveys (for details on the data please see below). The annual estimates are connected by lines (i.e. linearily interpolated). In the diagram there are altogether four groups: two age groups of males, namely the age groups 15-24 years and 25 years and above (i.e. 25+) and two age groups of females which are again the age groups 15-24 years and 25+ years. The red line is the mean (also called average) over all four groups. The diagram displays that employment increased only very slightly for the group females 25+ until around 2006, after that it decreased again. All other employment ratios where in decline. In particular the average employment ratio has been in decline since 1991. A rather steep decline can be observed for the young age groups. This can be due to longer education times and/or youth unemployment.

Data ressources

The above data was read in and displayed via javascript. The software is under GPL, please refer to the source for details. Screenshots of the image and the text are creative commons licence-by-sa. The script reads in a local copy of the csv file of employment to population ratios as currently estimated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The file is currently available via a drop down menu and download button at Table R2.
The detailed definition and explanations to the employment-to-population ratio is currently available in the document kilm02EN.pdf at KILM ILO. Some relevant citations from that document:
For most cases, household labour force surveys are used, and they provide estimates that are consistent with ILO definitional and collection standards. A small number of countries use other sources, such as population censuses, official estimates or specialized living standards surveys, which can cause problems of comparability at the international level.
The employment-to-population ratio is defined as the proportion of a countrys working-age population that is employed.
Employment is defined in the resolution adopted by the 13th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) as persons above a specified age who performed any work at all, in the reference period, for pay or profit (or pay in kind) or were temporarily absent from a job for such reasons as illness, maternity or parental leave, holiday, training or industrial dispute. (See box 2) The resolution also states that unpaid family workers who work for at least one hour should be included in the count of employment, although many countries use a higher hour limit in their definition.
For most countries, the working-age population is defined as persons aged 15 years and older, although this may vary from country to country.
Similarly, some countries have an upper limit for eligibility, such as 65 or 70 years, although this requirement is imposed rather infrequently.
Table 2 in the KILM shows employment-to-population ratios for 197 economies, disaggregated by sex and age groups (total, youth and adult), where possible.