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Definition: Number of persons employed (Index)

Short-term statistics

2006 definition

It is the objective of the index of number of persons employed to show the development of employment in industry, construction and services.

The number of persons employed is defined as the total number of persons who work in the observation unit (inclusive of working proprietors, partners working regularly in the unit and unpaid family workers), as well as persons who work outside the unit who belong to it and are paid by it (e.g. sales representatives, delivery personnel, repair and maintenance teams). It includes persons absent for a short period (e.g. sick leave, paid leave or special leave), and also those on strike, but not those absent for an indefinite period. It also includes part-time workers who are regarded as such under the laws of the country concerned and who are on the payroll, as well as seasonal workers, apprentices and home workers on the payroll.

The number of persons employed excludes manpower supplied to the unit by other enterprises, persons carrying out repair and maintenance work in the observation unit on behalf of other enterprises, as well as those on compulsory military service.

Unpaid family workers refers to persons who live with the proprietor of the unit and work regularly for the unit, but do not have a contract of service and do not receive a fixed sum for the work they perform. This is limited to those persons who are not included on the payroll of another unit as their principal occupation.

According to this definition, the groups included are:

- all paid employees, including the following categories as long as they are included on the payroll:
 --- home workers,
--- apprentices/trainees,
--- paid working proprietors and paid family workers,
--- persons on temporary leave (maternity, sickness leave, strike, lock-out, etc.) for a definite period,
--- part time workers,
--- temporary workers,
--- seasonal workers,
- unpaid persons employed:
--- unpaid working proprietors (owners),
--- unpaid family workers (1).

The groups excluded are:

- agency workers (except for the activity in which such employment agencies are classified),
- persons on indefinite leave (e.g. long term sickness, military service or social service),
- persons carrying out repair or maintenance work on behalf of other observation units and other staff borrowed from other observation units,
- family workers included on the payroll of another unit as their principal occupation.

The number of persons employed should be determined as a representative figure for the reference period.


(1) The unpaid family workers have been added as a matter of principle although accurate figures may be difficult to obtain. Regulation (EC) No 588/2001 of 26 March 2001 concerning short-term statistics
European Union, Commission Regulation (EC) No 1503/2006 of 28 September 2006 implementing and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1165/98 concerning short-term statistics as regards definitions of variables, list of variables and frequency of data compilation