What is the economically active population?

We explain what is the economically active population and the characteristics of the employed and economically inactive population.

  1. What is the economically active population?

The economically active population, also called the “work force”, corresponds to the number of people in the stage of working or productive life . This group includes people who have an occupation and those who do not but are looking for it.

It is the part of the population capable of providing goods or services to the market because it meets certain variables such as age range, education level, work experience, among others. It is made up of two large groups:

  • Employed population : one who has a job.
  • Unemployed population : It is the part of the population that has no job but is in active search. It is also called “open unemployment.” It should not be confused with the economically inactive population.
  1. Working population

primary sector economically active population
The primary sector deals with the extraction of raw material.

The employed population is the part of the economically active population that has at least one economic activity . The criterion of one hour worked allows statistical comparability with other countries and allows capturing the multiple informal or low intensity occupations of a territory.

The number of hours of normal occupation is considered between 35 and 45 hours per week. But within the occupied population two subgroups are also included although they do not have that characteristic:

  • Sub-busy hourly population. It is the part of the population that works less than thirty-five hours a week.
  • Over-occupied population It is the part of the population that works more than forty-five hours per week.

In addition, the employed population differs according to the productive sector in which they invest their working hours. This classification allows the study and analysis of the economic production of a population. The different sectors are:

  • The primary sector . It covers economic activities related to the extraction of natural resources . Examples of the primary sector are agriculture , livestock, mining and hydrocarbons, among others.
  • The secondary sector . It covers economic activities that transform raw materials into finished products, adding value to the goods. Examples of the secondary sector are the industrial activity (considered light and heavy ) that offers furniture, electronics , footwear, processed foods, clothing, among others.
  • The tertiary sector . It covers economic activities intended to provide services (and not the production of goods or merchandise). Examples of the tertiary sector are commerce , transport, public or private services, among others.
  • The quaternary sector. It covers economic activities related to the provision of services focused on intellectual work, knowledge and research. Examples of the quaternary sector are consulting, technology research and development , financial planning, etc.
  • The quinary sector It covers non-profit activities that generate a contribution to society from education , health, recreation, etc. Examples of the quinary sector are the actions of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), technology leaders, influencers or social referents, official government tasks , among others.
  1. Economically inactive population

The economically inactive population is the part of the population that has no job or trade, nor is it in search of one . It includes groups of people with the following characteristics:

  • Young people sixteen years of age or older, who do not classify as employees.
  • Students of any category of study (elementary school, undergraduate, etc.) who do not work.
  • Retirees or pensioners.
  • Volunteers in social or charitable activities.

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