* indicates monthly or quarterly data series

Labor force, million people, 2022:

The average for 2022 based on 46 countries was 10.13 million people. The highest value was in Nigeria: 73.27 million people and the lowest value was in Sao Tome and Principe: 0.07 million people. The indicator is available from 1990 to 2022. 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 73.27 1 1990 - 2022
Ethiopia 60.03 2 1990 - 2022
DR Congo 35.06 3 1990 - 2022
Tanzania 30.64 4 1990 - 2022
Kenya 24.99 5 1990 - 2022
South Africa 24.31 6 1990 - 2022
Uganda 18.2 7 1990 - 2022
Madagascar 15.5 8 1990 - 2022
Angola 15.04 9 1990 - 2022
Mozambique 14.61 10 1990 - 2022
Ghana 14.53 11 1990 - 2022
Sudan 13.5 12 1990 - 2022
Cameroon 11.58 13 1990 - 2022
Ivory Coast 10.79 14 1990 - 2022
Niger 9.85 15 1990 - 2022
Burkina Faso 8.36 16 1990 - 2022
Mali 8.05 17 1990 - 2022
Malawi 7.92 18 1990 - 2022
Zambia 6.94 19 1990 - 2022
Zimbabwe 6.4 20 1990 - 2022
Burundi 5.57 21 1990 - 2022
Chad 5.54 22 1990 - 2022
Senegal 5.2 23 1990 - 2022
Benin 4.81 24 1990 - 2022
Rwanda 4.65 25 1990 - 2022
Guinea 4.24 26 1990 - 2022
Somalia 3.16 27 1990 - 2022
Togo 3.08 28 1990 - 2022
Sierra Leone 2.8 29 1990 - 2022
Liberia 2.42 30 1990 - 2022
R. of Congo 2.38 31 1990 - 2022
C.A. Republic 2.04 32 1990 - 2022
Eritrea 1.74 33 1990 - 2022
Botswana 1.15 34 1990 - 2022
Mauritania 1.13 35 1990 - 2022
Lesotho 0.98 36 1990 - 2022
Namibia 0.96 37 1990 - 2022
Gambia 0.95 38 1990 - 2022
Gabon 0.73 39 1990 - 2022
G.-Bissau 0.71 40 1990 - 2022
Mauritius 0.62 41 1990 - 2022
Eq. Guinea 0.57 42 1990 - 2022
Swaziland 0.4 43 1990 - 2022
Cape Verde 0.25 44 1990 - 2022
Comoros 0.23 45 1990 - 2022
S.T.&Principe 0.07 46 1990 - 2022



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.


73.27
60.03
35.06
30.64
24.99
24.31
18.20
15.50
15.04
14.61
14.53
13.50
11.58
10.79
9.85
8.36
8.05
7.92
6.94
6.40
5.57
5.54
5.20
4.81
4.65
4.24
3.16
3.08
2.80
2.42
2.38
2.04
1.74
1.15
1.13
0.98
0.96
0.95
0.73
0.71
0.62
0.57
0.40
0.25
0.23
0.07
0
18.3
36.6
55
73.27
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