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Employment status (official definition)

Codes and Frequencies

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This variable indicates the person's employment status according to the official definition.

Employed persons are those who reported having engaged in any of the work activities listed on the census (questions P30a-g) for at least one hour during the 7 days prior to the census interview or who reported being temporarily out of work but having a job to which they would return. The variable listing reason for not working (WKWHYNOT) distinguishes, in part, among unemployed people and those who were not economically active. People who reported their status as student, housewife/homemaker, retired, ill/invalid/disabled, or too young/too old to work in their reason for not working (categories 2 through 6 of WKWHYNOT) are "not economically active." People who had found a job which would start at a definite date in the future (category 1 of WKWHYNOT) are "unemployed." People who listed other reasons for not working (categories 7 through 13 of WKWHYNOT) were divided into unemployed or not economically active based on a combination of additional criteria from WKAVAIL, WKLOOK and WKBUSNEW. If this group was available for work within 1-2 weeks and also either looking for work or taking action to start a business, they considered unemployed. Otherwise, they were classified as not economically active. (In contrast, the variable for the expanded definition of employment status, EMPSTATEXP, relies only on the WKAVAIL criteria of being available for work within two weeks to classify as unemployed.)

People who did not report a reason for not working are in the Unknown category (=8).


  • South Africa 2007: Persons age 15 to 65 who do not live in institutions


  • South Africa: 2007

Integrated variables