Press section
Latest data Persons employed Persons unemployed Activity
rate (%)
rate (%)
Q2 2023 21,056,700 Time serie graph 2,762,500 Time serie graph 58.97 Time serie graph 11.60 Time serie graph


The Economically active population survey (EAPS) is a continuous investigation of quarterly periodicity directed to families and has been carried out since 1964. Its main objective is to obtain data on the population in relation to the labour market, active unemployed and inactive people.

The EAPS is carried out on a sample of 65,000 a quarter or, the same thing, some 200,000 people. The first survey that is carried out for each family is made personally by fixed INE interviewers . Successive surveys may be carried out by phone or in person.

The reference period of information is the week previous to the interview. The results from the EAPS are obtained a month after finishing the fieldwork.

Revision of the EAPS in 2014

From 29 April 2014, the EAPS is published according to the new population base that incorporates the updated Population and Housing Census 2011 information.

The INE has also revised the series of EAPS since 2002, providing homogeneous retrospective series calculated with the same base population.


Definitions of EAPS

Active persons: persons 16 and over who, during the reference week (that previous to that in which the interview is carried out), supply labour for the production of goods and services or are available and in conditions to be incorporated into the said production. They are subdivided into employed and unemployed.

Employed: These are people 16 or over who during the reference week have been working for at least one hour in exchange for remuneration in cash or in kind or those with work who have been temporarily absent through illness, holidays, etc.

The unemployed are subdivided into freelance workers (employers, businesspersons without employees and independent workers) and employees (public or private). Dealing with the duration of the working day of the employees they are classified into full time (with a working week greater than 30 hours) and part time (normal working week less than 35 hours).

Unemployed: These are people 16 and over who during the reference week have been without work, available to work and actively seeking work. A person is considered to be seeking work actively if he or she:

  • Has been in contact with a public employment office with the object of finding work.
  • Has been in contact with a private office (temporary employment office, specialised contracting company, etc) with the objective of finding work.
  • Has sent a candidature directly to employers.
  • Has inquired via personal contacts, unions, etc.
  • Has put an ad up or answered newspaper ads.
  • Has studied employment offers.
  • Has participated in a test, competition or interview in the context of a contracting process.
  • Has been looking for land or premises.
  • Has done what is necessary to obtain permits, licences or financial resources.

People who have found a job and are waiting to start are also considered unemployed as long as the first two conditions are verified.

Inactive population: population of 16 or over not included in any of the previous categories receives this consideration.