The unemployment rate gives an indication of the extent to which there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.  This is formally expressed as the percentage of the economically active population (i.e. employed plus unemployed people looking for work) who are currently not in employment but are actively seeking and ready to commence employment.

The unemployment rate is considered a key indicator, as it tends to signpost the overall health of the labour market. For example, looking at changes in the unemployment rate over time offers an indication of whether things are getting better or worse in the labour market. If unemployment rates are compared for people with different socio-economic and educational characteristics, then it is possible to gauge the extent to which those characteristics afford some protection against changes taking place in the wider economy (for example, if GDP falls). Generally speaking, people with higher levels of educational attainment are less likely to be unemployed.

Note: All estimations are Skills intelligence Team own calculations based on Eurostat data.