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Study Notes

Labour Markets - Key Measurements (Labour Markets)

AS, A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 21 Mar 2021

The labour market is studied in detail by economists. Here are some of the key measures used in assessing changes in the labour market.

Claimant Count Unemployment

A measure of unemployment, in which the number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) is counted.

Dependency Ratio

The (age) dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents (i.e. people younger than 16 or older than 65) to the working-age population.

Economically inactive population

Those who are of working age but are neither in work nor actively seeking paid work.


When there enough unfilled job vacancies for all the unemployed to take paid work.

Labour Force

All people who are of working age, and able and willing to work. It includes both the employed, and the unemployed.

Participation rate

The proportion of the population of working age that is in the labour force (either employed or unemployed).

Working-age population

According to the OECD, this is everyone in an economy aged between 15 and 64 who is willing and able to work.


Under-employment occurs when people are counted as looking for an additional job or actively searching for a new job with longer hours to replace their current (main) job.

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