Indicator 56. Youth employment rate, by formal and informal sector

Rationale and definition:

The youth employment rate is the percentage of the youth labor force that is employed. Young people are defined as persons aged between 15 and 24. The labor force comprises all persons within the above age group currently available for work and actively seeking work, and the sum of those that are employed and unemployed.

To the extent possible, the youth employment rate should be reported separately for formal and informal employment. The latter is of particular importance in developing countries. The 17th International Conference of Labor Statisticians recommends that informal employment should include: (i) own-account workers (self-employed with no employees) in their own informal sector enterprises; (ii) employers (self-employed with employees) in their own informal sector enterprises; (iii) contributing family workers, irrespective of type of enterprise; (iv) members of informal producers’ cooperatives (not established as legal entities); (v) employees holding informal jobs as defined according to the employment relationship (in law or in practice, jobs not subject to national labor legislation, income taxation, social protection or entitlement to certain employment benefits (paid annual or sick leave, etc.); and (vi) own-account workers engaged in production of goods exclusively for final use by their household.1


We recommend that the indicator be disaggregated by sex and urban/rural to understand the differential composition of men and women in the formal and informal sectors.

Comments and limitations:

A broad-based employment metric for formal and informal youth employment is preferable to standard unemployment measures that focus only on the formal sector. However, informal employment is not systematically measured in all countries, though many are beginning the process of defining and measuring informal employment. As a result, data quality and availability may be poor.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Labor Force surveys.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

ILO tracks data on this indicator.