Individual- and household-based jobless rates can offer conflicting signals about labour market performance. We outline a means of quantifying and decomposing the extent of any disparity (polarisation) between individual- and household-based measures and apply this to data from five countries over 25 years. Comparing actual household workless rates with counterfactuals based on a random distribution of employment, we find evidence of growing disparities between individual- and household-based non-employment measures in all five countries. The extent of this polarisation varies widely, but for each country, most of the discrepancies stem from within-household factors than from changing household composition.
Gregg, P., Scutella, R., & Wadsworth, J. (2010). Reconciling workless measures at the individual and household level. Theory and evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia. Journal of Population Economics, 23(1), 139-167. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-008-0215-6