HL Deb 03 June 1997 vol 580 c26WA
Lord Acton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the current rates of unemployment in (a) the United Kingdom; (b) the United States of America; and (c) Japan.

Lord Simon of Highbury

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the chief executive of the Office for National Statistics who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Acton from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Mr. Tim Holt, dated 30 May 1997.

I have been asked to reply as the Director of the Office for National Statistics to your recent question regarding unemployment in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Japan.

Figures based on the internationally recognised International Labour Office (ILO) definition of unemployment provide an appropriate basis for international comparisons. The ILO measure of unemployment, as derived from the Labour Force Survey, defines somebody as unemployed if they are without a job at the time of interview, were available to start work in the two weeks following their interview and had either looked for work in the four weeks prior to interview or were waiting to start a job they had already obtained. The ILO unemployment rate gives the number of the ILO unemployed as a percentage of the economically active.

The latest available ILO unemployment rates are published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. These show that the ILO unemployment rates in February 1997 were 7.1 per cent. for the UK, 5.3 per cent. for the USA and 3.3 per cent. for Japan.