Labour force

The labour force is an international measurement which counts residents between 15 and 74 years, who are capable of work.

The labour force is made up of two groups:

  • Employed people are defined as those who are employees, on approved leave of absence or self-employed. They work for a wage, dividends or payment-in-kind.
  • Unemployed people are defined as those without a job, actively seeking work and fully available to the job market within two weeks.


  • Inactive population are individuals who are not part of the labour force and are neither employed nor unemployed. This group can include students, pensioners and stay-at-home mothers or fathers.
  • Activity rate is the labour force in % of the working-age population (15-74).
  • Payment-in-kind (PIK) is the use of goods or services as payment instead of cash.

The labour force is given by adding employed and unemployed. Persons neither employed nor unemployed are counted as economically inactive.
The data is compiled from public registers where employed, selv-employed and unemployed are identified. The about 5,000 persons not found in the registers are estimated by surveying 1,000 on them. The labour force survey is conducted in November each year estimating labour force status in the week containing 15 November.
In the survey all that worked for more than 1 hour in the reference week are counted as employed even if remunerated in kind. Those not working are counted as unemployd if they actively seek employment and are availabe for work within 2 weeks.
Before 2015 the data were not registerbased, but relied solely on surveying the full population 15-74 years.

The unemployment percentages in this survey are not comparable with other unemployment percentages from Statistics Faroe Islands which are based on records from the Unemployment insurance system (ALS) and the Social Affairs office.

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