Unemployment Rate by Country [The Harsh Truth]

Unemployment rate by country helps with understanding the current state of the global economy.

This Map Shows the Unemployment Rate by Country

To help you see the big picture, we at SpendMeNot com have created a global unemployment map. It shows the unemployment rate for every country where data is available.


Made with Visme Infographic Maker


This is an issue that those lucky enough to be born in certain developed countries rarely have to worry about. There are plenty of jobs to go around, regardless of education and skill set. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t apply in many developing countries or even some Western European states like Spain.

Impactful Unemployment Rate by Country Stats

  • Standing at 33.4%, Namibia has the highest unemployment rate in the world
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina has a staggering unemployment rate of over 33%
  • Saint Lucia  an unemployment rate of 22.1%, the highest in the Americas
  • Youth unemployment in Macedonia stands at a jaw-dropping rate of over 44%
  • Brazil’s youth unemployment is close to 29%
  • Over 38% of the population of Palestine do not work as they are too young

But that’s not all.

We also made a list with some of the countries that are a nightmare to find work in. We grouped countries from different regions to show you that unemployment is a truly global problem.

The Americas: Countries by Unemployment Rate

The situation in some parts of America is really disturbing.

1. Saint Lucia has the highest unemployment rate in the Americas (22.1%).

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

With between one-fifth and one-fourth of the country’s population being unemployed, the small Carribbean island nation has the dubious distinction of being the country with the highest unemployment rate in the region. Youth unemployment is also a serious issue for St. Lucia –  45.21% of young people looking for a job are unable to find one.

Unemployment statistics for St. Lucia show the country has a population of 183,024, and that, according to 2017 data, 99,087 of them are able to join the labor force.

The main industries on the islands are tourism (65% of GDP) and offshore banking, as well as banana, oil, and malt beer production. Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and other cruise ship industry giants are the top employers in St. Lucia.

2. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has an unemployment rate of 19.7%.

(Source: macrotrends)

The constant struggle with high unemployment rate is a common issue in the Caribbean. With 19.7% of adults and 41.3% of youth being unemployed, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is just one of the countries that illustrate this trend.

This tiny island nation has a population of 110,687. Crucially, estimates show that almost 50% of the population is outside the legal working age or unable to join the workforce for different reasons.

The national unemployment rate for St. Vincent and the Grenadines would be much higher if the country relied on tourism; agriculture, cement manufacturing, and forestry are the top industries.

3. Haiti has an unemployment rate of 13.2%.

(Source: CEIC)

Unsurprisingly, there’s another Caribbean nation on our list. In addition to having one of the highest unemployment rates around the world, Haiti is also one of the poorest countries on the planet. Youth unemployment is at a massive 33.4%.

Haiti has a population of 11,302,005 and a labor force of 5,013,779.
Beverage production, as well as oil, sugar, and butter production, are the leading industries in Haiti. The list of notable companies includes the Bank of the Republic of Haiti, Brasserie de la Couronne, and dozens of hotels.

4. Guyana has an unemployment rate of 12.2%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

According to the 2017 unemployment report, Guyana has an unemployment rate of 12.2%. The unemployment rate among young people (15-24) who want to work is 22.9%.

The only English-speaking country in South American country has a population of 783,826. It is estimated that 33.6% of the population is below the age of 15.

Agro-processing is the primary industry of Guyana, and it involves sugar, rice, coconut, and timber processing. Gold and diamond mining is also a popular career path.

5. Brazil has an unemployment rate of 11.8%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

While unemployment around the world is dropping, Brazil is going the other way; the country’s unemployment rate for 2019 is 0.2% higher than last year. Youth unemployment is at 28.6%, while it was at just 15.7% in 2014.


Unlike the other countries on our list, Brazil has a massive population of 211,471,871. Around a quarter of the population (22.3%) is under the age of 15, which means that they do not participate in the labor force.

Iron and steel production, car assembly, and the oil industry are the primary industries of Brazil.

Europe: The Highest Unemployment Rate by Country

It’s hard to believe the level of unemployment in some of these countries.

6. Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest unemployment rate in Europe (33.1%).

(Source: Trading Economics)

The highest unemployment rate in Europe, and one of the highest in the world, was recorded in July 2019 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Youth unemployment in this troubled Balkan country is the highest in the world, at 57.5%.

The former Yugoslav republic has a population of 3,295,327. Current unemployment rate numbers show that 13.3% of the population is below the legal working age.

Industry in this country is mostly based on mining and related activities. Steel production, car assembly, and tobacco products are what feeds the nation.

7. Armenia has an unemployment rate of 17.7%.

(Source: Trading Economics)

At the start of 2019, unemployment in Armenia hit 17.9%. In Q2, it dropped by 0.2%. The joblessness rate among Armenian youth is at 36.7%.

Armenia currently has a population of 2,959,278, with 19% of the population being under the legal working age.

Similarly to other countries with above-average unemployment, this former Soviet republic primarily relies on mining, agriculture, and tourism.

8. North Macedonia has an unemployment rate of 17.5%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Next on our list is yet another former Yugoslav republic. Unemployment data from the second quarter of 2019 shows that North Macedonia has an unemployment rate of 17.5%. Youth unemployment is at 44.7%.

The population of North Macedonia is 2,083,435. Unemployment figures point out that 17.2% of the population is under the age of 15.

The country relies on food processing, beverages, chemicals, iron, cement, energy, and automotive parts production as its main industries.

9. Greece has an unemployment rate of 17%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Greece is one of the countries that took the hardest hit during the recent economic recession. Youth unemployment is at 39.5%, which, while by no means exemplary, is far from the astonishing 58% where it was at its peak in 2013.

Unemployment stats show that 13.83% of the 10,459,276 residents are below the legal working age.

For a country as beautiful as Greece, it’s no wonder that tourism is the leading industry. Shipping, food and tobacco processing, and mining are also prominent.

10. Albania has an unemployment rate of 14.2%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Albania, the fourth Balkan country on our list, has one of the highest unemployed populations on the continent. 20.9% of the young who are looking for work in this country are unable to find one, unemployment rate data finds.

The current population of Albania is 2,880,041, dropping from 2017 estimates by 150,000. The percentage of the population under the age of 15 is 18.05%.

Food processing, textiles and clothing, lumber, oil, cement, and chemicals are what sustains Albania.

Asia: Unemployment Rate by Country

11. Palestine has an unemployment rate of 29.1%

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Palestine has the highest unemployment in Asia. The country’s youth unemployment is also extremely high, at 44.7%.

The population of Palestine has grown from under 1.5 million in 1980 to 5,014,840 in October 2019. Those who are unable to work as they are under 15 years of age make up 38.36% of the population.

The agricultural sector employs 13.4% of the population, formally. Informally, it is estimated that 90% of the labor force of Palestine is involved in agriculture.

12. Jordan has an unemployment rate of 15.8%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Global unemployment rate lists commonly have Jordan near the top of the states with the highest rates of unemployment. Youth unemployment is more than double the overall unemployment, sitting at 37.2%.

The Middle Eastern state has a population of 10,130,091, 34.7% of whom have not reached the legal working age yet.

This nation’s economy relies on clothing, fertilizers, mining, and tourism. Construction is also one of the more lucrative sectors in the Hashemite Kingdom. Arab Bank is the largest company, with $2.1 billion in sales and $0.3 billion in profits.

13. Iran has an unemployment rate of 12.5%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

Iran has the third-highest number of unemployed in Asia, unemployment by country numbers uncover. 28.3% of those aged 15-24 who want to work are not able to find a job in Iran.

The Islamic Republic’s current population is estimated at 83,215,674. Around a quarter of them (24.2%) are below the age of 15 and therefore not accounted into the labor force.

The country’s strategic position is one of its greatest assets: 

In addition to being a major transport hub for crude oil, Iran is estimated to hold 10% of the world’s oil reserves.

14. Brunei has an unemployment rate of 9.2%.

(Source: Trading Economics)

What is a high unemployment rate? Countries that exceed the 10% mark are considered to have high unemployment. This does not mean that Brunei’s rate of 9.2% is low or even decent, for that matter. Youth unemployment is in an even worse state at 29.2%.

This small Asian island nation has a population of 434,459. 23.12% of the population is younger than 14 years of age.

As most of the region, Brunei relies on gas and oil production. The field is dominated by BSP, a company owned 50-50 by the government and Royal Dutch Shell.

15. Afghanistan has an unemployment rate of 8.8%.

(Source: Trading Economics)

Unemployment rates in industrialized nations are commonly below 5%. Afghanistan is getting close to that after years of civil war and foreign invasions. While the country has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the world, at just 2.4%, depression remains a massive social problem.

Afghanistan has a population of 38,288,838. In 2017, 40.1% of the population was below the legal working age.

The economy of Afghanistan is centered around agriculture. It produces cotton, tobacco, sugar beets, etc. Sheep farming is also a major factor.

Africa and Oceania: The Highest Global Unemployment Rate

Unemployment levels in this region have devastating consequences on the economy.

16. Namibia has the highest unemployment rate in the world (33.4%).

(Source: Trading Economics)

Namibia’s unemployment rate is currently the highest in the world. And yet, this is a slight improvement compared to 2016, when it was at 34%. The youth unemployment rate in this African country is at 46.1%.

It has a population of 2,507,483, with 18.1% under 15 and ineligible for work.

Mining is the primary industry of Namibia, and it accounts for around a quarter of the country’s revenue. Tourism, agriculture, and fishing are also important financial influencers.

17. Lesotho has an unemployment rate of 27.25%.

(Source: Trading Economics)

After learning what country has the highest unemployment rate, we run into another contender for the top spot. Lesotho, a small south African kingdom that was the inspiration for the fictitious kingdom of Wakanda, has seen a significant drop in youth unemployment, from 51.6% in 1988 to 33.22% in 2018.

Lesotho has a population of 2,130,029, with almost a third younger than 15 (32.12%).

The economy of the small kingdom is based on farming, livestock, and mining. Workers who work abroad and send money to their families back home are what the majority of households rely on.

18. Swaziland has an unemployment rate of 22.1%.

(Source: Trading Economics)

Global unemployment rate data lists Swaziland as our next victim. Youth unemployment in this country is double that of all workers, standing at 44.15%.

Swaziland has a population of 1,151,501. Just over 35% of the population is outside the legal working age.

Coal, sugar, clothing, and soft drinks are produced in this country, and they are the pillars of its economy.

19. Samoa has an unemployment rate of 8.32%.

(Source: The Global Economy)

The average unemployment rate of 5% is far exceeded by the Independent State of Samoa, the country with the highest unemployment in Oceania. On the other hand, youth unemployment is not as much of an issue there, as it sits at just below 18%.

The tiny Pacific nation has a population of just 197,466. Out of that number, 31.35% are under the age of 15 and unable to work legally.

Around two-thirds of the Samoan workforce is employed in the primary sector, which includes agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and it accounts for 17% of the nation’s GDP.

20. Australia has an unemployment rate of 5.3%.

(Source: countryeconomy.com)

The final spot on the list is reserved for Australia, whose unemployment rates historically haven’t been better. Youth unemployment is also on a declining trend, falling to 11.7% in August 2019.

The Land Down Under has a population of 25,286,286, with 17.8% of the population being under the legal working age limit.

More than 70% of the GDP comes from the service industry. Mining, healthcare, media and entertainment, and finance are also important contributors to the Australian economy.

And on that note:


The unemployment rate by country statistics and facts listed above show us the painful truth of our times: 

Even though we rarely worry about it, some countries are simply unable to provide work for up to a third of their work-capable population.

And even though the global economy has been on a path of steady if unspectacular recovery over the past few years, some countries have clearly benefited more than others.


Milan is an English Language and Literature graduate. He never wanted to spend his workdays with groups of 20 teenagers. Instead of teaching like most of his college friends, he went on to become a content writer. In addition to writing, his passions include mountain biking, hiking, and playing the guitar.

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