Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

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Inhaltsbereich: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

What harmonised and registered unemployment rates do not tell



"The most commonly used statistical sources for the analysis of unemployment are registered unemployment (RU) at the national level and internationally harmonised unemployment data provided by the European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard. The logic behind both unemployment statistics is to count people 'without work' only when they are 'actively looking' and 'available for work'. This logic does not coincide necessarily with the understanding of unemployment in the general public. That's why governments and Public Employment Services (PES) are often blamed to 'hide' unemployed individuals participating in active labour market measures or being temporarily ill.
Our methodological study provides an in-depth analysis of the discrepancies between registered unemployment (RU) and internationally harmonised unemployment (LFSU) in a comparative view. For ten selected EU-countries (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK) we show in which countries the registers are more restrictive than the survey and vice versa. We then identify the populations groups which help to understand the discrepancies between both figures in most countries (young and older people, marginally employed, participants in active labour market programmes) and extend the view to additional indicators of non-employment. Finally, we explore differences in the calculation of the length of individual unemployment spells between both data sources and show that neither register based national nor survey based international statistics adequately reflect the long-term exclusion from regular, genuinely market-based employment." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))


Bibliographical information

Konle-Seidl, Regina; Lüdeke, Britta (2017): What harmonised and registered unemployment rates do not tell. (IAB-Forschungsbericht, 06/2017), Nürnberg, 31 p.