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Economic Activity: Definition

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 21 May 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether (a) housewives, (b) farmers' wives, (c) unmarried mothers without paid employment, are categorised in official statistics as "economically inactive" and what is their definition of "economic inactivity".

The official statistics based on the Labour Force Survey use the International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines for defining economic activity. All persons aged 16 and over who are in employment (including paid employees, the self-employed and unpaid family workers) or are ILO unemployed (not in employment, seeking work in the past four weeks and available to start in the next two weeks) are classified as economically active. People who are neither in employment nor ILO unemployed are classified as economically inactive.