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 2020

In 2020, Switzerland’s economically active population increased by 0.2%, from 5.344 million at the start of the year to 5.355 by the end of 2020. The increase is due to growth among women (+0.7%, from 2.448 to 2.465 million). Among men, a slight decline was seen (-0.2%, from 2.895 to 2.890 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”). In 2019 and 2020, however, more departures than entries took place: In 2020, there was a difference of -6000 economically active persons (275 000 entries compared with 282 000 exits). Since the mid-1990s, women’s labour market entries have greatly exceeded their departures. For the past four to five 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 2020, the net migration of economically active persons was 18 000 in total, therefore more persons have immigrated than emigrated. The trend in net migration of the past ten years is a reflection of sustained immigration of foreigners. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of foreign workers migrating to Switzerland was continuously higher than the number of those leaving the country, with a net migration of 17 000 persons in 2020 - a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic - (-27 000 compared with 2019). Conversely, the net migration of Swiss nationals in the observation period practically always showed a negative balance. In 2019, it still stood at -6000, whereas in 2020, in the course of the pandemic, it was evenly balanced.

Statistical sources and concepts


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