Labour market dynamics: entries and departures, migrations

Labour Market Accounts (LMA) help us understand labour market dynamics. These statistics provide information regarding individual transitions between employment, unemployment and inactivity. The LMA also show migration flows as well as births and deaths. They create a link between labour market statistics and population statistics.

The labour market situation at the beginning of the year is compared with the situation at the end of the year. In the balance, the distinction is made between two groups of movements: on the one hand, the movements within Switzerland (entries and departures of economically active persons), and on the other hand, immigrations and emigrations of economically active persons. The difference between immigrations and emigrations is the net migration.

Labour market accounts 2021

In 2021, Switzerland’s economically active population increased by 0.4%, from 5.352 million at the start of the year to 5.374 by the end of 2021. The increase was 0.4% for men and women (men: from 2.888 to 2.901 million; women: from 2.464 to 2.473 million).

Entries and departures of economically active persons

Between 2010 and 2018, labour market entries (change from “economically inactive persons” to “economically active persons”) exceeded labour market departures (from “economically active persons” to “economically inactive persons/deceased”). Since 2019, however, more departures than entries took place: In 2021, there was a difference of -28000 economically active persons (274 000 entries compared with 302 000 exits). Since the mid-1990s, women’s labour market entries have greatly exceeded their departures. For the past six years, however, the situation has changed and the number of departures has almost equalled that of entries. Among men, entries have largely been offset by departures for 25 years.

Trend in net migration

In 2021, the net migration of economically active persons was 50 000 in total, therefore more persons have immigrated than emigrated. The trend in net migration of the past years is a reflection of sustained immigration of foreigners. Between 2010 and 2021, the number of foreign workers migrating to Switzerland was continuously higher than the number of those leaving the country, with a net migration of 53 000 persons in 2021. Conversely, the net migration of Swiss nationals in the observation period practically always showed a negative balance. In 2021, it still stood at -3000.

Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Section Labour Force
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