* indicates monthly or quarterly data series

Labor force, million people, 2022:

The average for 2022 based on 46 countries was 10.1 million people. The highest value was in Nigeria: 73.39 million people and the lowest value was in Sao Tome and Principe: 0.07 million people. The indicator is available from 1991 to 2023. Below is a chart for all countries where data are available.

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


Countries Labor force, 2022 Global rank Available data
Nigeria 73.39 1 1991 - 2023
Ethiopia 59.75 2 1991 - 2023
DR Congo 34.81 3 1991 - 2023
Tanzania 30.1 4 1991 - 2023
Kenya 24.75 5 1991 - 2023
South Africa 24.37 6 1991 - 2023
Uganda 18.24 7 1991 - 2023
Madagascar 15.36 8 1991 - 2023
Angola 14.75 9 1991 - 2023
Mozambique 14.69 10 1991 - 2023
Ghana 14.55 11 1991 - 2023
Sudan 13.45 12 1991 - 2023
Cameroon 11.59 13 1991 - 2023
Ivory Coast 10.61 14 1991 - 2023
Niger 9.83 15 1991 - 2023
Burkina Faso 8.33 16 1991 - 2023
Malawi 8.07 17 1991 - 2023
Mali 7.96 18 1991 - 2023
Zambia 6.83 19 1991 - 2023
Zimbabwe 6.37 20 1991 - 2023
Chad 5.6 21 1991 - 2023
Burundi 5.51 22 1991 - 2023
Senegal 5.12 23 1991 - 2023
Rwanda 5.1 24 1991 - 2023
Benin 4.8 25 1991 - 2023
Guinea 4.27 26 1991 - 2023
Somalia 3.16 27 1991 - 2023
Togo 3.07 28 1991 - 2023
Sierra Leone 2.83 29 1991 - 2023
Liberia 2.42 30 1991 - 2023
R. of Congo 2.38 31 1991 - 2023
C.A. Republic 2.04 32 1991 - 2023
Eritrea 1.75 33 1991 - 2023
Botswana 1.15 34 1991 - 2023
Mauritania 1.13 35 1991 - 2023
Lesotho 0.99 36 1991 - 2023
Namibia 0.97 37 1991 - 2023
Gambia 0.94 38 1991 - 2023
Gabon 0.74 39 1991 - 2023
G.-Bissau 0.71 40 1991 - 2023
Mauritius 0.58 41 1991 - 2023
Eq. Guinea 0.57 42 1991 - 2023
Swaziland 0.4 43 1991 - 2023
Cape Verde 0.25 44 1991 - 2023
Comoros 0.23 45 1991 - 2023
S.T.&Principe 0.07 46 1991 - 2023



Definition: Labor force comprises people ages 15 and older who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period. It includes people who are currently employed and people who are unemployed but seeking work as well as first-time job-seekers. Not everyone who works is included, however. Unpaid workers, family workers, and students are often omitted, and some countries do not count members of the armed forces. Labor force size tends to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave.
What makes up the labor force?

The labor force constitutes the proportion of a country’s pool of male and female workers aged 15 years and above who are employed and those currently unemployed but searching for a job. However, it does not include discouraged workers, retirees, and stay-at-home parents. This implies that the totality of the labor force in any country consists of employed and unemployed workers. While employed workers are the set of people who work either through paid or self-employment, the unemployed category consists of those without work, or those currently available for work, and those seeking employment.

Why does the labor force vary across countries?

Differences in the labor force across countries in the world are influenced by several factors. Traditionally, factors such as population size, statutory entry and retirement ages, official school-leaving age, number of working hours and working days, and labor market structure account for the disparity in the labor force of any country. Meanwhile, the existence of seasonal jobs also increases the rate of variation in the labor force from time to time. Countries with high seasonal employment opportunities may tend to have higher labor capacity at one time than other nations.

Furthermore, the economic conditions of countries also determine the number of employed and unemployed workers in the labor force. This is because during a recessionary era, industries tend to lay off workers, which raises the level of unemployment relative to the total population. Meanwhile, periods of an economic boom come with job opportunities that absorb workers.

In addition, geopolitical risks such as wars, conflicts, and terrorism also contribute to variations in the labor force among countries. For instance, countries with high geopolitical uncertainties are likely to have a small labor force since most employed workers may migrate to another nation for their safety, whereas those that are less confronted by geopolitical upheavals may have a large workforce.

If you are interested in global labor regulations and policies, you can visit the International Labour Organization page.



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73.39
59.75
34.81
30.10
24.75
24.37
18.24
15.36
14.75
14.69
14.55
13.45
11.59
10.61
9.83
8.33
8.07
7.96
6.83
6.37
5.60
5.51
5.12
5.10
4.80
4.27
3.16
3.07
2.83
2.42
2.38
2.04
1.75
1.15
1.13
0.99
0.97
0.94
0.74
0.71
0.58
0.57
0.40
0.25
0.23
0.07
0
18.3
36.7
55
73.39


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