Employment rate up in OECD area at end of 2013

By on 28/04/2014 | Updated on 14/05/2014
The OECD has long been a champion of youth employment initiatives Photo by Andrew Wheeler (c) All rights reserved by the OECD

The latest figures from the OECD show that the employment rate of its member countries went up by 0.1 per cent overall in the final quarter of 2013. That puts the rate at 65.3 per cent for the OECD area taken as a whole.

While this represents a third consecutive quarterly increase for its members, the employment rate stubbornly remains well below the level recorded immediately before the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

The modest increase in employment rate is reflected to varying degrees in the figures posted by individual countries. For example, the rate for the Euro area increased by the OECD average of 0.1 per cent, while Japan was up 0.4 per cent and the UK up by 0.3 per cent. The US and Canada remained stable, at 67.4 per cent and 72.4 per cent respectively.

Taking 2013 as a whole, the biggest increases in employment came in Ireland (2.1 per cent), Hungary (1.9 per cent) and New Zealand (2.6 per cent). These significant hikes helped compensate for reductions in Greece (minus 1.3 per cent), and in Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia, which were all down by 0.9 per cent.

A detailed breakdown of the figures reveals that, overall, employment for older workers (aged 55 – 64) was up by 0.2 per cent, while the employment rates for young workers, and for people aged 25 – 54, both went up by 0.1 per cent.

The increase in youth employment was not reflected in the figures for the Euro area, however, where this age category saw a 0.2 per cent drop. Helping to offset that was a 0.5 per cent increase in this sector for the US.

When considered in the light of a recent report on the unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2014, covered in more detail elsewhere on The Global Government Forum, it seems as if the employment situation in the OECD area overall remains fairly stable. It recorded a 0.1 per cent increase in unemployment in its 34 member countries during this period.

While such stability is encouraging, it serves to obscure some worrying trends. For example, youth employment remains low overall, with recession-hit nations like Greece and Spain particularly struggling to find work opportunities for younger citizens.  This is an area of particular concern for the OECD, which has long sought to encourage member nations to develop strategies that improve youth employment.


About Kevin Sorkin

I am the Founder and CEO of Pendragon International Media Ltd, publishers of Global Government Forum. This portfolio also includes research services and important world leading events for public servants such as the Global Government Summit, the Global Government Finance Summit, the Global Government Forum Innovation conference, Global Government Digital Summit and Putting Citizens First. I am also the founder of the Civil Service Awards and Civil Service Live, established industry leading brands and extremely important events for government. I also launched and published Civil Service World. Over the years I have established relationships with the most senior officials in government and the private sector and have built a very strong and positive reputation across the industry.

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