LABORSTA, the International Labour Organization's database of labour-related statistics, is freely available and, in one sense, easy to use, as you can see in this very short video.

In general, you

  • select a topic that's of interest
  • then a series of interest
  • then the countries, time period and specific table

The database then gives you the option to view or download the statistics you've chosen.

What's not easy is if you need to refer back to that data for any reason. There's no way to link to the table you select. Each time, you have go back to the database and reselect everything. Many of the series and tables have very similar titles, so it's to your benefit to make sure you take note of exactly which table, country and years you've selected.

The layout of the tables on screen also has some weaknesses. The labeling is poorly indicated and often found only in tooltips. If you don't see the note telling you to mouseover codes, you'll probably miss the labels completely. They also don't make it clear just how much data you've gotten back or that it's often tables from lots of separate surveys. For a page with lots of results, it's easy to get lost on the screen.