* indicates monthly or quarterly data series

Unemployment rate, 2021 - Country rankings:

The average for 2021 based on 180 countries was 8.46 percent.The highest value was in South Africa: 33.56 percent and the lowest value was in Qatar: 0.26 percent. The indicator is available from 1991 to 2021. Below is a chart for all countries where data are available.

Measure: percent; Source: The World Bank
Select indicator
* indicates monthly or quarterly data series


Countries Unemployment rate, 2021 Global rank Available data
South Africa 33.56 1 1991 - 2021
Djibouti 28.39 2 1991 - 2021
Swaziland 25.76 3 1991 - 2021
Palestine 24.9 4 1991 - 2021
Botswana 24.72 5 1991 - 2021
Lesotho 24.6 6 1991 - 2021
R. of Congo 23.01 7 1991 - 2021
Gabon 22.26 8 1991 - 2021
Namibia 21.68 9 1991 - 2021
St. Vincent & ... 21.62 10 1991 - 2021
Armenia 20.9 11 1991 - 2021
Somalia 19.86 12 1991 - 2021
Sudan 19.81 13 1991 - 2021
Libya 19.58 14 1991 - 2021
Jordan 19.25 15 1991 - 2021
Montenegro 18.49 16 1991 - 2021
Costa Rica 17.95 17 1991 - 2021
Saint Lucia 16.91 18 1991 - 2021
Tunisia 16.82 19 1991 - 2021
N. Caledonia 16.57 20 1991 - 2021
Guyana 16.42 21 1991 - 2021
North Macedonia 16.2 22 1991 - 2021
S.T.&Principe 15.91 23 1991 - 2021
Haiti 15.73 24 1991 - 2021
Cape Verde 15.42 25 1991 - 2021
Bosnia & Herz. 15.22 26 1991 - 2021
Greece 14.8 27 1991 - 2021
Spain 14.73 28 1991 - 2021
Lebanon 14.49 29 1991 - 2021
Brazil 14.4 30 1991 - 2021
Colombia 14.34 31 1991 - 2021
Iraq 14.19 32 1991 - 2021
Yemen 13.57 33 1991 - 2021
Turkey 13.39 34 1991 - 2021
Afghanistan 13.28 35 1991 - 2021
Bahamas 13.24 36 1991 - 2021
Zambia 13.03 37 1991 - 2021
Algeria 12.7 38 1991 - 2021
Panama 12.09 39 1991 - 2021
Albania 11.82 40 1991 - 2021
Serbia 11.81 41 1991 - 2021
Morocco 11.47 42 1991 - 2021
Iran 11.46 43 1991 - 2021
Mauritania 11.46 44 1991 - 2021
Gambia 11.21 45 1991 - 2021
Argentina 10.9 46 1991 - 2021
Georgia 10.66 47 1991 - 2021
Syria 10.57 48 1991 - 2021
Uruguay 10.45 49 1991 - 2021
Barbados 10.41 50 1991 - 2021
Suriname 10.06 51 1991 - 2021
Samoa 9.84 52 1991 - 2021
Italy 9.83 53 1991 - 2021
Nigeria 9.79 54 1991 - 2021
Comoros 9.45 55 1991 - 2021
Egypt 9.33 56 1991 - 2021
Eq. Guinea 9.24 57 1991 - 2021
Jamaica 9.18 58 1991 - 2021
Chile 9.13 59 1991 - 2021
Kyrgyzstan 9.1 60 1991 - 2021
Ukraine 8.88 61 1991 - 2021
Croatia 8.68 62 1991 - 2021
Sweden 8.66 63 1991 - 2021
Angola 8.53 64 1991 - 2021
Bolivia 8.51 65 1991 - 2021
Honduras 8.51 66 1991 - 2021
Domin. Rep. 8.5 67 1991 - 2021
Puerto Rico 8.27 68 1991 - 2021
Belize 8.22 69 1991 - 2021
France 8.06 70 1991 - 2021
Eritrea 8.05 71 1991 - 2021
Lithuania 7.9 72 1991 - 2021
Tajikistan 7.75 73 1991 - 2021
Mali 7.72 74 1991 - 2021
Brunei 7.65 75 1991 - 2021
Latvia 7.6 76 1991 - 2021
Finland 7.53 77 1991 - 2021
Canada 7.51 78 1991 - 2021
Mauritius 7.41 79 1991 - 2021
Saudi Arabia 7.36 80 1991 - 2021
Paraguay 7.21 81 1991 - 2021
Uzbekistan 7.16 82 1991 - 2021
Mongolia 7.08 83 1991 - 2021
Malawi 7.02 84 1991 - 2021
G.-Bissau 6.76 85 1991 - 2021
Slovakia 6.74 86 1991 - 2021
Portugal 6.65 87 1991 - 2021
Ireland 6.63 88 1991 - 2021
Azerbaijan 6.58 89 1991 - 2021
C.A. Republic 6.57 90 1991 - 2021
Ecuador 6.43 91 1991 - 2021
Belgium 6.42 92 1991 - 2021
Venezuela 6.41 93 1991 - 2021
Guinea 6.34 94 1991 - 2021
Estonia 6.33 95 1991 - 2021
Austria 6.3 96 1991 - 2021
Cyprus 6.13 97 1991 - 2021
Maldives 6.08 98 1991 - 2021
India 5.98 99 1991 - 2021
Nicaragua 5.96 100 1991 - 2021
El Salvador 5.94 101 1991 - 2021
Kenya 5.74 102 1991 - 2021
USA 5.46 103 1991 - 2021
DR Congo 5.43 104 1991 - 2021
Bulgaria 5.42 105 1991 - 2021
Iceland 5.4 106 1991 - 2021
Sri Lanka 5.39 107 1991 - 2021
Sierra Leone 5.33 108 1991 - 2021
Hong Kong 5.32 109 1991 - 2021
Switzerland 5.32 110 1991 - 2021
Fiji 5.24 111 1991 - 2021
Bangladesh 5.23 112 1991 - 2021
Luxembourg 5.23 113 1991 - 2021
Romania 5.17 114 1991 - 2021
Zimbabwe 5.17 115 1991 - 2021
Australia 5.11 116 1991 - 2021
Turkmenistan 5.08 117 1991 - 2021
Israel 5.05 118 1991 - 2021
Nepal 5.05 119 1991 - 2021
Russia 5.01 120 1991 - 2021
Norway 4.99 121 1991 - 2021
Kazakhstan 4.9 122 1991 - 2021
Peru 4.83 123 1991 - 2021
China 4.82 124 1991 - 2021
Denmark 4.8 125 1991 - 2021
Tr.&Tobago 4.8 126 1991 - 2021
Burkina Faso 4.76 127 1991 - 2021
Belarus 4.74 128 1991 - 2021
Ghana 4.7 129 1991 - 2021
Malaysia 4.61 130 1991 - 2021
UK 4.53 131 1991 - 2021
Slovenia 4.42 132 1991 - 2021
Indonesia 4.41 133 1991 - 2021
Mexico 4.38 134 1991 - 2021
Pakistan 4.35 135 1991 - 2021
Bhutan 4.33 136 1991 - 2021
Hungary 4.12 137 1991 - 2021
New Zealand 4.12 138 1991 - 2021
Liberia 4.09 139 1991 - 2021
Netherlands 4.01 140 1991 - 2021
Togo 4 141 1991 - 2021
Mozambique 3.98 142 1991 - 2021
Tonga 3.97 143 1991 - 2021
Moldova 3.96 144 1991 - 2021
Cameroon 3.87 145 1991 - 2021
Senegal 3.72 146 1991 - 2021
Kuwait 3.71 147 1991 - 2021
Ethiopia 3.69 148 1991 - 2021
Singapore 3.62 149 1991 - 2021
Guatemala 3.57 150 1991 - 2021
Germany 3.54 151 1991 - 2021
South Korea 3.53 152 1991 - 2021
Malta 3.5 153 1991 - 2021
Ivory Coast 3.47 154 1991 - 2021
Poland 3.37 155 1991 - 2021
UA Emirates 3.36 156 1991 - 2021
Oman 3.12 157 1991 - 2021
Macao 3.01 158 1991 - 2021
Uganda 2.94 159 1991 - 2021
Czechia 2.89 160 1991 - 2021
Japan 2.8 161 1991 - 2021
Papua N.G. 2.75 162 1991 - 2021
Tanzania 2.65 163 1991 - 2021
Madagascar 2.59 164 1991 - 2021
North Korea 2.59 165 1991 - 2021
Philippines 2.41 166 1991 - 2021
Vanuatu 2.18 167 1991 - 2021
Burma 2.17 168 1991 - 2021
Vietnam 2.17 169 1991 - 2021
Chad 1.88 170 1991 - 2021
Bahrain 1.87 171 1991 - 2021
Burundi 1.79 172 1991 - 2021
Rwanda 1.61 173 1991 - 2021
Benin 1.57 174 1991 - 2021
Thailand 1.42 175 1991 - 2021
Laos 1.26 176 1991 - 2021
Solomon Isl. 1.03 177 1991 - 2021
Niger 0.75 178 1991 - 2021
Cambodia 0.61 179 1991 - 2021
Qatar 0.26 180 1991 - 2021

Economic outlook around the world

Definition: Unemployment refers to the share of the labor force that is without work but available for and seeking employment.
What factors explain the differences in the unemployment rate around the world.

The unemployment rate varies considerably across countries around the world for variety of reasons. We can group these reasons in two categories related to the two broad types of unemployment: cyclical and natural. The cyclical unemployment is related to the current conditions in the economy. When the economy goes into recession, the unemployment rate increases as businesses shed labor. Conversely, the unemployment rate declines as the economy expands and businesses start to hire people. It usually takes about six months to a year of economic expansion before the unemployment rate starts to decline. Similarly, the unemployment rate starts to increase only after a few months of output contraction. So, in any particular year the unemployment rate in a given country may be high (or low) if the country is experiencing a recession (or an expansion).

The natural unemployment rate consists of two types of unemployment: frictional and structural and is not related to the business cycle. The frictional unemployment consists of people who are between jobs as they move from one city to another, enter the labor market after they complete their education, or due to other personal reasons. The structural unemployment is related to the structural shifts in the economy. As some sectors decline, e.g. the textile production in the US, and other sectors expand, e.g. health care, people who were employed in the textile sector lose their jobs and have to enter the health care sector. This requires new education and a new set of skills which take time to acquire. While these people are in the process of transitioning from one sector to another, we call them structurally unemployed.

So, some countries around the world might not be in a recession and still have very high unemployment rates because their natural rate of unemployment is high. In these countries, it may not be easy to move to where the jobs are because of language or culture barriers, employers might be unwilling to hire people because of restrictive labor regulations or other reasons. Then, even if the economy is expanding, the number of people who want to work but have no jobs remains high. You can look on the chart and try to guess what explains the level of unemployment in the various countries.

One more thing to point out. The unemployed are people who are actively seeking work but cannot find a job. Some of them, after looking unsuccessfully for work for some time, eventually give up and drop out of the labor force. We call these people discouraged workers. They are not counted as unemployed but are clearly excluded from the labor market.


33.56
28.39
25.76
24.90
24.72
24.60
23.01
22.26
21.68
21.62
20.90
19.86
19.81
19.58
19.25
18.49
17.95
16.91
16.82
16.57
16.42
16.20
15.91
15.73
15.42
15.22
14.80
14.73
14.49
14.40
14.34
14.19
13.57
13.39
13.28
13.24
13.03
12.70
12.09
11.82
11.81
11.47
11.46
11.46
11.21
10.90
10.66
10.57
10.45
10.41
10.06
9.84
9.83
9.79
9.45
9.33
9.24
9.18
9.13
9.10
8.88
8.68
8.66
8.53
8.51
8.51
8.50
8.27
8.22
8.06
8.05
7.90
7.75
7.72
7.65
7.60
7.53
7.51
7.41
7.36
7.21
7.16
7.08
7.02
6.76
6.74
6.65
6.63
6.58
6.57
6.43
6.42
6.41
6.34
6.33
6.30
6.13
6.08
5.98
5.96
5.94
5.74
5.46
5.43
5.42
5.40
5.39
5.33
5.32
5.32
5.24
5.23
5.23
5.17
5.17
5.11
5.08
5.05
5.05
5.01
4.99
4.90
4.83
4.82
4.80
4.80
4.76
4.74
4.70
4.61
4.53
4.42
4.41
4.38
4.35
4.33
4.12
4.12
4.09
4.01
4.00
3.98
3.97
3.96
3.87
3.72
3.71
3.69
3.62
3.57
3.54
3.53
3.50
3.47
3.37
3.36
3.12
3.01
2.94
2.89
2.80
2.75
2.65
2.59
2.59
2.41
2.18
2.17
2.17
1.88
1.87
1.79
1.61
1.57
1.42
1.26
1.03
0.75
0.61
0.26
0
8.4
16.8
25.2
33.56
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