Economics/Global Activity Rate Stats
I really have two though related questions for you.
I am doing some research on the labor market for Bosnia and Hercegovina and I have found some interesting statistics, including an economic activity rate of 44% (I found this in a labor survey carried out locally). I think that number is quite low and I suspect it is because the informal sector or "gray economy" is large, but I would like to have something to compare that number to. I have searched online for activity rate statistics but have not been able to find anything. Ideally I would like to find a good source that has economic activity rates globally, for the EU, and for the euro zone.
Second question: Is the activity rate simply the employment rate + the unemployment rate? And if not, what is a better definition? That seems to be the definition I have found online, and in the labor survey's definition/methodology section, but the figures in the local survey are not even close to adding up so I wonder if their methodology is way off or if I am missing something in understanding what the economic activity rate actually measures.
Thank you very much!
"Economic activity rate" is sort-of an archaic term, but you have the basic idea for what it is, yes. More commonly we hear it called "labor force", "labor supply", or "labor participation rate". Below are a few links that should help you:
US Department of Labor International Labor Comparisons: http://www.bls.gov/fls/flscomparelf.htm
World Bank Labor Participation Rates: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS
World Bank Labor Force, Total: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.TOTL.IN
CIA Global Workforce Data: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2095rank.html
Much of the economic hardship being experienced in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the result of social instability and poor government functionality, both of which hamper production, investments, and expenditures. With such high unemployment levels for an extended period of time, people simply stop seeking for traditional forms of labor, which brings them out of the workforce. Instead, they'll rely, as you said, on the grey and black markets, if they pursue any work, at all.