Department of Statistics

Labour statistics play an essential role in the efforts of member States to achieve decent work for all and for the ILO's support of these efforts. These statistics are needed for the development and evaluation of policies towards this goal and for assessing progress towards decent work. They are also an important tool for information and analysis, helping to increase understanding of common problems, explain actions and mobilize interest

The ILO Department of Statistics works with integrity, independence and high professional standards to provide users within and outside the ILO with relevant, timely and reliable labour statistics, to develop international standards for better measurement of labour issues and enhanced international comparability, and to help member States develop and improve their labour statistics. In doing so, it maintains strong professional relations with national statistical systems, especially central statistical agencies and ministries responsible for labour issues, and with statistics offices of other international organizations

The Department's activities to meet its goals include: gathering and disseminating labour statistics; setting international standards for labour statistics; and providing technical cooperation, assistance and training in labour statistics.

As the focal point within the United Nations system for labour statistics, the ILO Department of Statistics is responsible for providing other international organizations with data that are as reliable and timely as possible.

As the focal point within the ILO for statistical activities, the Department assists the Sectors in identifying their data needs, collaborates with them on the gathering of information from countries, and advises them on the use of data for specific purposes.

What's new

  1. What about seniors?

    Learn about the situation of older persons in the labour market in What about seniors?, the first issue of our new series Spotlight on work statistics where we use ILOSTAT data to explore various labour market issues.

  2. Where are the Jobs?

    Learn about employment patterns across sectors and occupations in Where are the jobs?, the second issue of our new series Spotlight on work statistics.

  3. Reports of the main findings from ILO LFS Pilot Study Programme

    These reports present the findings from the ILO Labour Force Survey (LFS) Pilot Study Programme which was implemented from 2015 to 2017 in follow up to the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). These studies were designed to provide evidence for the development of guidance on good practices for implementation through LFS of the ground-breaking standards agreed at the 19th ICLS covering work, employment and labour underutilization.

  4. Quick guide on sources and uses of labour statistics

    This guide walks readers through the basics of labour statistics, from their conception to their final use. It includes key information on sources, standards, concepts, definitions, scope and interpretation of labour statistics, making it a valuable tool for anyone wanting to learn the essentials of labour statistics.

  5. Better data on women’s economic lives for better policy

    In celebration of the UN International Day of Rural Women (15 October), ILOs partner, Data2x, explains how the latest ILO statistical standards on work and employment can shed new light on women’s economic lives for better policymaking.

    ILO is a member of the Women’s Work & Employment partnership, a platform set-up by Data2X (UN Foundation) to promote inter-agency collaboration and advance methods to improve the quality, availability and use of gender data.

    Learn more about ILOs statistical work and contributions to the Women’s Work and Employment partnership activities.

  6. Measuring work in official statistics: The new international standards



  1. Conceptual framework: Measuring work in official labour statistics

  2. ILO global estimates on migrant workers

    The statistical study provides estimates of the proportion of labour migrant workers among the total number of migrants worldwide. It outlines the regions and industries where international migrant workers are established and includes a specific focus on migrants in domestic work with updated numbers.

  3. Key Indicators of the Labour Market (KILM) 2015

    The KILM – part of the broader ILO statistical database ILOSTAT – is a multi-functional research tool produced by the ILO Department of Statistics .

    The KILM consists of country-level data on 17 key indicators of the labour market from 1980 to the latest available year. The new edition includes an analysis of the link between education and access to the labour market.

  4. Skills mismatch in Europe: Statistics brief

    This Statistics Brief analyzes the incidence of overeducation and undereducation (skills mismatch) in a sample of European economies. Mismatch patterns are shown to depend strongly on the measure of mismatch that is adopted, but overeducation is increasing and undereducation is decreasing on at least one measure in at least half of the countries for which such trends can be assessed. Differences in skills mismatch risk between age groups and sexes are discussed, and country-specific trends are identified.

  5. Sampling elusive populations: Application to studies of child labour

    This Manual complements the earlier volume on Sampling for household-based surveys of child labour brought out by within the framework of the ILO-IPEC Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour (SIMPOC) and contributes to survey methodology that goes beyond the particular subject of child labour. Thus, anyone interested in issues and practical solutions to problems such as sampling from imperfect frames or sampling difficult populations would benefit from the contents of this Manual.

  6. Employment by Economic Activity

    Short Term Indicators of the Labour Market
    Employment Trends through 2nd Quarter 2013

  7. Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture

    This publication, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (Second Edition), is a significant step forward from the Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (2002) in that it provides, for the first time, direct measures of informal employment inside and outside informal enterprises for 47 countries. The publication also presents statistics on the composition and contribution of the informal economy as well as on specific groups of urban informal workers. Non-technical language and clear, simple statistical tables will make the information easy to understand by a large and varied audience. This publication is intended to respond to the needs of different users, including researchers, statisticians, policymakers, employers’ and workers’ organizations, including organizations of informal workers.

  8. Measuring informality: A statistical manual on the informal sector and informal employment

    This manual has been prepared with two primary objectives. The first objective is to assist countries planning to produce statistics on the informal sector and informal employment to undertake a review and analysis of their options. The second objective is to provide practical guidance on the technical issues involved in the development and administration of the surveys used to collect the relevant information, as well as in the compilation, tabulation and dissemination of the resulting statistics.

  9. Draft - Decent Work Indicators - Guidelines for producers and users of statistical and legal framework indicators

    Decent work is central to sustainable poverty reduction and is a means for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization recommends the establishment of appropriate indicators to monitor the progress made in the implementation of the ILO Decent Work Agenda. The ILO is supporting member States through technical assistance and capacity building at national, sub-regional and regional levels in this regard.

  10. Tripartite Meeting of Experts in Labour Statistics on the Advancement of Employment and Unemployment Statistics

    28 January - 1 February 2013

    The meeting of experts is expected to discuss and make recommendations on proposals to update the international standards of statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment, including the development of measures of labour underutilization, with a view to advise the Office on its preparation of revised draft standards for submission to the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (Geneva, 2-11 October 2013).


    Decent Work Indicators in Africa - A first assessment based on national sources

    4 June 2012

    The 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization recommends the establishment of appropriate indicators, if necessary with assistance of the ILO, to monitor the progress made in the implementation of the ILO Decent Work Agenda. The 17-point “Decent Work Agenda in Africa 2007-15”, calls for improved information for better policy making, aiming that at least half of the African member States have mechanisms in place to produce statistics and labour market information in a timely fashion.

  12. Statistical update on employment in the informal economy

    8 June 2012

    The present statistical update presents information compiled for 47 countries from different regions.

  13. Measuring Informality: a Statistical Manual on the informal sector and informal employment

    5 June 2012

    The ILO has released an edited version of a Manual to help constituents around the world, especially in statistical offices and ministries of labour, to define, quantify and characterize the contribution of the informal sector and informal employment at national level.

  14. Report on the Liberia Labour Force Survey 2010

    2 June 2011

    In 2010, the ILO supported Liberia in conducting a national Labour Force Survey. The survey report has recently been released by the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LIGIS). This has been a joint effort by the government and a handful of development partners and it is a great achievement for the country. The report provides precious insights that will be used in future development planning and implementation in order to better address labour and decent work issues.

  15. Statistical update on Arab States and Territoties and North African Countries

    2 june 2011

    The findings show these economies are characterized by high unemployment rates, with significant variations within countries by sex, age and education.

  16. Counting the volunteers the world counts on: a new manual on the measurement of volunteer work

    23 March 2011

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies have released a new manual to help statistical agencies around the world track the amount, type and value of volunteer work in their countries.


  1. Better data to better monitor the status of women in informal employment, unpaid work and work in rural areas and agriculture

    Data2X and ILO Department of Statistics are jointly organizing a Roundtable discussion to be held in Geneva on Oct 1-2, 2014.

  2. Redrawing the boundaries from Employment and Unemployment towards Work and Underutilization

    An information session by STATISTICS
    Monday 12 May 2014 @ 2:30 - 4:00 pm
    Conference Room IX (R2)

  3. 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians

    24 November 2008 to 05 December 2008 - Geneva, Switzerland

    The 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians has been convened by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office in its 300th Session (November 2007) to discuss and adopt international statistical standards on two topics, Child Labour and Working Time. It will also discuss and provide guidelines for future work on (a) the measurement of decent work, (b) indicators of labour underutilization and (c) statistics on volunteer work. In addition, the Conference will examine its functions, organization, frequency, etc. in response to a request for mechanisms for faster adoption of international standards in labour statistics.