Unemployment falls in OECD nations

14 Jun 19

Unemployment in OECD countries fell to 5.2% in April – below levels at the height of the boom years before the 2007–08 financial crisis.

There are now 33.2 million people out of work in the 36 countries that are members of the organisation for developed economies.

Joblessness was down in Europe, the United States and other key economies such as Canada and Japan, and remains stable in Mexico.

Youth unemployment is also falling in many OECD member states – but remains high in Italy and Spain, which are the European economies with the highest levels of joblessness overall.

The latest OECD data for April indicate that unemployment across the organisation’s members as a whole fell by 0.1 percentage point in April.

In the eurozone, it fell by 0.1 percentage points for the second consecutive month, to 7.6% – its lowest level since October 2008.

It was down in Spain to 13.8%, having decreased almost every month since its July 2013 peak, and in Lithuania to 5.8%.

However, unemployment increased by 0.2 percentage points in Portugal to 6.7%, although this remains more than 10 points below its peak in January 2013.

Outside Europe, the number of people out of work fell in the United States to 3.6%, in Japan to 2.4%, and in Canada to 5.7%, where more recent data for May indicates a further decline to 5.4% – the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1976.

Some economies are not creating jobs as fast as others. In Korea, for example, joblessness increased by 0.3 percentage points in April to 4.1%, and in Mexico, the unemployment rate remained stable at 3.5%.

Youth unemployment across the OECD area is hovering at around 11%, with 8.1 million young people aged 15 to 24 without jobs in April.

The proportion of young people without work continues to decline in the euro area, where it is 15.8%, and is also falling in Ireland, Latvia and Spain.

However, the youth unemployment rate continues to be above 30% in Italy (31.4%), Spain (32.7%) and Greece (40.4% in March).

  • Gavin O'Toole, expert on Latin America
    Gavin O'Toole

    A freelance journalist. He has written six books about Latin America and taught the politics of the region at Queen Mary, University of London.

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