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    011482

    Further thoughts on the definitions of economic activity and employment status

    Blacker JGC

    Population Bulletin of the Economic Commission for Western Asia. 1980; (19):69-80.

    The author cites problems in the definitions of different categories of economic activity and employment status which have been made by the UN. The term "casual workers" has never been clarified and these people were described as both employed and unemployed on different occasions; there is also no allowance for the term underemployed in the UN classification. The latter term, he concludes, is not included in most censuses. The UN in its Principles and Recommendations for Population Censuses, discusses sex-based stereotypes which he states are based on a set of conventions that are arbitrary, irrational, and complex. However on the basis of the UN rules it is possible to divide the population into 3 categories: 1) those who are economically active (black), 2) those who are not active (white), and 3) those whose classification is in doubt (gray). In developed countries most people are either in the black or the white area and the amount in the gray area is small, but in developing countries the gray area may be the majority of the population. In the Swaziland census no attempt was made to provide a clear picture of employment. In view of the complexity of the underlying concepts, the decisions as to whether a person should be classified as economically active or not should be left to the statisticians, not the census enumerators.
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