HL Deb 04 November 1997 vol 582 cc280-1WA
Lord Acton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

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

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Acton from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Dr. T. Holt.

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

Figures based on the internationally recognised International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of unemployment provide an appropriate basis for international comparisons. The ILO measure of unemployment, as used in the Labour Force Survey, defines somebody as unemployed if they are: (a) without a job at the time of interview; (b) were available to start work in the two weeks following their interview and (c) 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.

Comparable unemployment figures based on the International Labour Organisation definition are produced by the OECD. These show that the latest ILO unemployment rates in August 1997 were 6.8% for the UK, 4.9% for the USA and 3.4% for Japan.