Employment and unemployment as measured by the LFS - 1. quarter of 2021

Employment decreased; however, the number of working persons in information and communication and in education increased

Code: 250145-21

Total employment in the Q1 2021 decreased by 82.4 thousand persons, year-on-year (y-o-y). The number of the unemployed, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) methodology, increased by 73.3 thousand persons. The number of the economically inactive increased by 7.4 thousand. 

In the Q1 2021, the seasonally adjusted average number of employed persons decreased by 7.0 thousand persons, compared to the Q4 2020.

The number of working persons aged 15+ years decreased by 82.4 thousand persons, y-o-y, i.e. by 1.6%, to 5 195.0 thousand persons. The number of working males decreased by 38.9 thousand persons and the number of working females by 43.6 thousand persons. The number of employees decreased by 39.4 thousand to 4 350.5 thousand. Concurrently, the total number of the self-employed decreased by 39.8 thousand persons, namely due to a decrease in the number of the self-employed without employees (own-account workers) by 37.5 thousand persons. The number of the self-employed with employees (employers) decreased only slightly by 2.3 thousand. The number of contributing family workers decreased by 5.7 thousand persons. Employment decreased in all five-year age groups in younger productive age up to 45 years (by 122.8 thousand persons). The decrease was considerable both in females (by 64.3 thousand) and males (by 58.5 thousand) in that age.

The impact of the coronavirus epidemic was reflected not only in the development of the total employment but also in the structure of reasons why the employed did not work in the reference period (did not work a single hour). The number of working persons who did not work due to a holiday substantially decreased (a decrease by 160.7 thousand to 32.8 thousand). This decrease was compensated by an increase in the number of cases of incapacity for work (by 52.8 thousand to 194.9 thousand), lack of work (by 40.2 thousand to 53.5 thousand), other (family or personal) reasons (by 54.2 thousand to 162.8 thousand) and also of parental leave (by 17.6 thousand to 147.2 thousand).  

According to data for the Q1 2021, development of employment in individual economic activities (CZ-NACE sections) in the Czech Republic was differing1). In the secondary sector of industry and construction, employment decreased, y-o-y, by 32.5 thousand to 1 925.0 thousand, mainly due to a decrease in the number of working persons in manufacturing (by 55.7 thousand). Whereas the number of working persons in industry decreased, the number of working persons in construction increased, y-o-y (by 19.8 thousand). In the tertiary sector of services, the total employment decreased by 55.4 thousand to 3 131.7 thousand. The number of working persons decreased especially in the section of ‘accommodation and food service activities’ (by 42.3 thousand) and in ‘transportation and storage’ (by 39.8 thousand). On the other hand, in the sector of services, employment substantially increased in the section of ‘information and communication’ (by 32.2 thousand) and in ‘education’ (by 29.6 thousand). In the primary sector of agriculture, forestry and fishing, the number of working persons stagnated; the number of the employed in the sector was 135.9 thousand.

The development of the number of working persons according to the Classification of Occupations (CZ-ISCO) corresponds to the development of employment in individual sections of economic activities (industries). The number of working persons increased the most in the major group of professionals (by 70.4 thousand) and in the major group of managers (by 27.7 thousand). On the other hand, the number of the following decreased: technicians and associate professionals (by 52.2 thousand), service and sales workers (by 38.1 thousand), and craft and related trades workers (by 36.0 thousand).

The employment rate (percentage of working persons in the age group 15–64 years) in the Q1 2021 decreased compared to the corresponding period of the previous year by 0.8 percentage points (p. p.) to 74.0%. The male employment rate decreased by 0.7 p. p. to 80.9% and the female employment rate dropped by 0.9 p. p. to 66.9%.

The seasonally adjusted average number of unemployed persons according to the ILO methodology2) increased in the Q1 2021 by 13.1 thousand persons, compared to that in the Q4 2020.

The total number of the unemployed aged 15+ years increased by 73.3 thousand persons, y-o-y, and reached 179.5 thousand persons. The number of both increased – the number of the unemployed females increased by 48.9 thousand persons to 98.4 thousand persons and the number of the unemployed males increased by 24.5 thousand persons to 81.0 thousand persons. The number of the unemployed increased the most in the Středočeský Region (by 16.6 thousand) and in Prague (by 14.3 thousand). The number of the unemployed substantially increased also in the Ústecký Region (by 8.6 thousand) and in the Karlovarský Region (by 8.0 thousand). The number of persons unemployed for one year and longer increased by 3.6 thousand persons, y-o-y, and reached 34.8 thousand persons.

The general unemployment rate according to the ILO definition in the age group 15–64 years (the share of the unemployed in the labour force, i.e. the sum of the employed and the unemployed) increased by 1.4 p. p. to 3.4% in the Q1 2021 compared to the Q1 2020.

As for regional comparison, the highest y-o-y increase of the unemployment rate and concurrently the highest value was in the Karlovarský Region (by 5.7 p. p. to 8.6%). A higher increase in the unemployment rate (by two percentage points and more) was in four Regions, namely in the Středočeský Region (by 2.4 p. p.), in the Ústecký Region (by 2.2 p. p.), in the Plzeňský Region (by 2.1 p. p.), and in the Hlavní město Praha Region (i.e. the Capital City of Prague; by 2.0 p. p.). On the contrary, the lowest unemployment rate was in the Zlínský Region (1.6%), where it decreased by 0.1 p. p.

Economic inactivity
The number of economically inactive persons aged 15+ years increased by 7.4 thousand, y-o-y, to 3 607.6 thousand. The increase of the number of economically inactive females and males was contradictory. Whereas the number of economically inactive females decreased by 5.5 thousand, the number of economically inactive males increased by 12.9 thousand; of that, by 10.1 thousand in the age up to 24 years. By their educational attainment, the increase was mainly in economically inactive males with secondary education with A-level examination (by 13.3 thousand) and females with higher education (by 16.9 thousand). The increase in the number of economically inactive males and females was caused mainly by an increase in the age group of 15–19 years (by 14.2 thousand) and 65+ years (by 33.9 thousand).

In the sample survey, data are collected also on persons who do not work and do not seek a job in an active manner and thus do not comply with the ILO conditions for the unemployed, yet they state that they would like to work. In the Q1 2021, the number of such persons was 108.0 thousand persons, i.e. by 14.6 thousand persons more than in the corresponding period of 2020. Majority of persons willing to work, however, is not able to start in a potential job immediately. Only 41.4 thousand of the persons are able to start in a job within a fortnight, at the latest.


1) Data for the economic activities sections may be affected by the applied methodology of the Labour Force Sample Survey. The survey covers only persons living in dwellings (flats) (private households). Data for persons living in collective accommodation establishments are not measured. These establishments often provide accommodation to foreign nationals.
2) The ILO methodology defines the unemployed as persons who during the reference period were without a job, did not work an hour for pay, and were in an active manner seeking job they would be able to join within two weeks at the latest. This methodology is uniform for all EU Member States and produces internationally comparable data. It has to be taken into account that the definition of “the unemployed” by the ILO differs from the definition of “job applicants kept in the register of labour offices” of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.


Responsible head at the CZSO: Dalibor Holý, Head of the Labour Market and Equal Opportunities Statistics Department, phone number: (+420) 274 052 694, e-mail: dalibor.holy@czso.cz
Contact person: Marta Petráňová, Unit for Labour Forces, Migration, and Equal Opportunities, phone number: (+420) 274 054 357, e-mail: marta.petranova@czso.cz
Data source: the CZSO, Labour Force Sample Survey (LFSS) conducted in selected private households. Collective accommodation establishments are not included in the survey. The LFSS results have been grossed up to the total population of the Czech Republic based on results of the population statistics as at 1 January 2021 and the prediction of the natural population change and net migration in 2021.
End of data collection: 20 April 2021
End of preliminary data processing: 26 April 2021
Related document published on the Internet: 250129-20 - “Employment and Unemployment as Measured by the Labour Force Survey – quarterly data” with the final survey results will be available on the CZSO website by the end of the Q2 2021. (Home - We publish - Catalogue of Products - Employment and Unemployment)
Next News Release will be published on: 3 August 2021

  • azam050421.docx
  • Annexes:
  • Table 1 Employed persons (status in the main job, absolute numbers, percentages, year-on-year increments, and indices)
  • Chart 1 The employed and the unemployed (absolute numbers)
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Published: 04.05.2021
The data are valid as of the release date of the publication.

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