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Labour mobility and globalization

Review paper by Austria

In-depth review of labour mobility and globalization

The CES Bureau carried out an in-depth review of the labour mobility and globalization in February 2015. ILO and WTO contributed to the discussion during the Bureau meeting. The Bureau noted that labour mobility is a complex and challenging topic cutting across a number of statistical domains. The increasing labour mobility has an impact on productivity measurement and national accounts, as the concepts of national borders and residence have become less relevant due to globalization. The topic is highly policy relevant to inform the discussion on labour supply and labour market policies, and there is a clear need for a comprehensive framework and harmonization of terms and concepts in this area.

Outcome of the review

The Bureau decided to create a Task Force on Labour Mobility and Globalization with three main objectives: a) Prepare a collection of good practices; b) Establish a framework with common definitions; and c) Improve data exchange. The Conference of European Statisticians will discuss the outcomes of this work in 2018.

The topic of labour mobility and globalization was also discussed at the CES plenary session in June 2015 in Geneva.

Related initiatives

We work with the ILO working group on labour migration, established in 2015.

The UNECE clearing house on migration statistics and the OECD migration database as well as European Union’s efforts to bridge asymmetries and inconsistencies in migration data by statistical models, and provide a useful starting point for further work.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Statistics Division are addressing issues of the measurement of labour mobility related to trade in services. The work resulted in the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS) 2010 draws on diverse frameworks and data sources and provides a good occasion for launching a long-term initiative to better align the statistical areas concerned. Work on an accompanying compiler’s guide is still ongoing. 

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has particularly contributed to developments relevant to the cross-border movement of persons.


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This page was last updated on: 16 February 2017