|Key statistical concept|
Harmonised unemployment rates
The harmonised unemployment rates give the numbers of unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. The labour force consists of employees, the self-employed, unpaid family workers and the unemployed. The definitions of employment and unemployment conform with the definitions adopted by the 13th Conference of Labour Statisticians (generally referred to as the ILO guidelines) with the exception that employment and unemployment estimates are based on labour force surveys which cover only private households and exclude all people living in institutions. Under these guidelines the unemployed are persons of working age who, in a specified period, are without work and are both available for and are actively seeking work. The Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) give a more precise definition of unemployment through the Commission Regulation (EC), no.1897/2000 in September 2000. Details about this new definition and its implementation are available on Eurostat Internet site: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu.
Eurostat calculates the harmonised unemployment rates for the European Union (EU) member countries and Iceland, Norway and Turkey. In these countries, the LFS follows the Eurostat recommendations which are a detailed version of the ILO guidelines. In case of Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Switzerland the OECD collects the data directly from the National Statistical Offices. In those countries, the household labour force survey is assessed to follow ILO guidelines and to produce unemployment figures according to the ILO guidelines. The harmonised unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted. The OECD area covers the OECD member countries for which data are available. In order to compile the OECD area, the Secretariat estimates monthly figures for countries which only compile quarterly data. Eurostat calculates the Euro area and the European Union.