The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Unemployment Measurement

  • Katharine Bradbury
Reference work entry


Measures of unemployment tally people without a job who are looking for one. For measurement purposes, the critical question is what constitutes ‘looking’. This article summarizes how unemployment is measured in the United States and Europe, and describes recent research investigating the permeability of the dividing line between the unemployed and ‘marginally attached’ subgroups of those out of the labour market. A continuum between unemployed and entirely inactive individuals indicates that additional measures beyond unemployment may be useful in judging the state of the labour market.


Labour force participation rate Labour market search Non-employment Unemployment Unemployment measurement 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Bradbury
    • 1
  1. 1.