What is the activity rate?

The definition of activity rate is the index that measures the level of activity in employment in a community or state. This variable is of great value to know the economic growth of a country during a period of time.

Calculate activity rate

To calculate the activity rate you have to know a series of values ​​such as the active population and the population over 16 years of age or of working age. The active population refers to the sum of the employed population, but also the group of people who are unemployed. The formula for the activity rate is as follows:

Activity rate = (Active population / Population of working age or over 16 years) x 100

The body in charge of publishing the variations in the activity rate is the National Statistics Institute (INE), although the data from the Labor Force Survey (EPA), which consists of a quarterly investigation of families in order to obtain data on the labor force, in addition to knowing the number of people who remain outside the labor market. This study analyzes 65.000 families every three months, covering a total of 180.000 individuals. In this way, the quarterly variation of the activity rate can be known in comparison with the same period of the previous year, which will be shown as a percentage.

Activity rate example

Here is an example to calculate the activity rate. A country has an employed population of 15 million people, an unemployed population of 3 million and an inactive population of 9 million.

First of all, it will be necessary to know the active population and for this the following sum will be made:

PA = Employed population (15.000.000) + unemployed population (3.000.000) = 18.000.000

Next you have to calculate the number of people of working age (PET):

PET = active population + inactive population = 18.000.000 + 9.000.000 = 27.000.000

The activity rate would be obtained from

TA = (18.000.000 / 27.000.000) x 100 = 66,6

This means that 66 people out of 100 have a job or are actively looking for it.


Now that you know how to obtain the activity rate, you should know how to calculate the number of unemployed. To do this, the unemployment rate showing the relationship between the unemployed and the entire workforce.

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