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INEbase / Labour market / Economically Active Population Survey / New definition of unemployment

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1897/2000 provides a new operational definition of unemployment.

The formal definition of an unemployed persons does not change; the international definition from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) continues to be used, but the new regulation introduces instructions on how to interpret the active job search.

According to the said regulation, active methods of looking are considered, in the four weeks previous to the survey, the following:

  • Being in contact with a public employment office with the objective of finding work, whoever has taken the initiative (renewal of registration for purely administrative reasons does not constitute active planning).
  • Being in contact with a private office (temp agency, company specialised in contracting, etc.) with the objective of finding work.
  • Send a candidature directly to employers.
  • Search via personal contacts, unions, etc.
  • Announce or answer newspaper advertisements.
  • Study employment offers.
  • Participate in a test, competition or interview in the framework of a contracting procedure.
  • Look for land, premises or material.
  • Carry out what is necessary to obtain permits, licences or financial resources.

Spain is especially affected by the requirements demanded from persons whose only way of looking is registering in public employment offices. Up to now merely registering as a job seeker, valid for three months, was enough to consider the person unemployed.

As of 2002, in agreement with that indicated in the previous list of active measures, it is required to have had contact with the said offices, with the objective of finding work, so that the person is considered unemployed. The objective of finding work is fulfilled if the person registers for the first time after a period of employment or inactivity, is informed about possible job offers or receives a job offer from the office

In this way, some of the persons who up to now have been considered unemployed will be considered inactive

The INE modified the 2001 questionnaires in order to be able to register both the new and the old definition and thus be able to quantify the impact of the change. Questionnaires prior to 2001 do not cover this nuance over whether the job search is active or not, for which it is not possible to determine, for periods previous to 2001, what unemployment figures the APS would have given from using the new definition, in other words, the information cannot be backdated to the year 2000 and previous.

Image: PDF file Commission Regulation Nº 1897/2000 of 7 September 2000 for which application dispositions of Reg. 577/98 are established relative to the organisation of a sample survey on the active population in the Community for which the operative definition of unemployment is respected.