List of countries by unemployment rate in 2019 presented on this page is based on estimates from the International Labor Organization (ILO) - the leading source of worldwide labor statistics. The data is harmonized to account for differences in national data and scope of coverage, methodologies and other country-specific factors which increases the comparability across countries.

Countries with the highest unemployment rate in the world in 2019 are four southern African countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, and Eswatini, two southeastern European countries: North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and two southern Caribbean islands: Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and Grenadines.

The unemployment rate is the share of people of working age without work but who desire and are able to work and actively seeking it. It is measured as a percent of unemployed in the total labor force of a country. The unemployment rate is one of the three fundamental macroeconomic indicators along with GDP and inflation.

Declining unemployment rate indicates that companies' demand for labor force increases meaning they expand and produce more goods and services contributing to the GDP growth. The tight labor market, in turn, makes it more difficult to hire and places upward pressure on wages which means higher costs and higher overall inflation.

While annual data on the unemployment rate for most world countries can be obtained from ILO, the latest quarterly and monthly statistics (with less broad country coverage though) are available in datasets from IMFOECD, and Eurostat.

Coronavirus Data and Insights

Live data and insights on Coronavirus around the world, including detailed statistics for the US, EU, and China — confirmed and recovered cases, deaths, alternative data on economic activities, customer behavior, supply chains, and more.

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