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Discouraged workers constitute one group of inactive work-seekers. These are persons who, while willing and able to engage in a job, are not seeking work or have ceased to seek work because they believe there are no suitable available jobs.

Alternatively, for the OECD, discouragement is a concept used to describe individuals who would like to work, but are not seeking work because they feel no suitable job is available. Discouraged workers by definition are not in the labour force.

Discouraged workers is a subjective measure, in contrast to the objectively-based measure of unemployment. Discouraged workers are counted as out of the labour force under international guidelines since they are not looking for work.

(OECD Employment Outlook, July 1995, Chapter 2, Supplementary measures of labour market slack: an analysis of discouraged and involuntary part-time workers, page 45).

Source Publication:
Handbook of Household Surveys, Revised Edition, Studies in Methods, Series F, No. 31, United Nations, New York, 1984, para. 11.125.

Statistical Theme: Labour statistics - Labour force statistics

Created on Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Last updated on Tuesday, March 4, 2003