Économie et Statistique n° 362 - 2003 Measuring the Growth in Mobile Telphone Service Prices - Employment Survey
The Shape of the Labour Force: on the Borders of Employment, Unemployment and Inactivity
The labour force, the sum of all people employed and unemployed, is a complex statistical group in terms of both its definition and its measurement. The already marked deviation in the early 1990s between the status that people spontaneously said they had and the International Labour Organization's highly structured approach has widened further over the last decade. Nearly one million people who pontaneously declared that they were economically active in March 2001 were classed as ILO inactive: unemployment interpretation divergences have widened, combined status situations have grown («student workers») and the positioning of government employment policy beneficiaries remains ambiguous. However, the number of people stating that they are «housekeeping» or «retired», but classed as ILO economically active has fallen. All in all, 1.3 million people were on the fringe (economically active according to one of the concepts) of the hard core of the labour force (25.7 million economically active individuals according to both concepts) in 2001. An analysis of these fringe populations brings to light certain information on the population groups that could provide extra manpower resources when the massive waves of retirement occur in coming years. Hence, among the ILO-defined economically inactive indivi-duals, those who spontaneously declare that they are economically active often appear less removed from the labour market. Some state that they do not want to work or are not available, but their proportion cannot be considered independent of the economic situation and the greater or lesser difficulty of finding a job. Other resources could also be sought among those who are defined by both concepts as economically inactive and state that they want to work: they numbered 340,000 in March 2001.