OECD joblessness stays high

Tim Wallace
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DEVELOPED countries are failing to cut unemployment, according to figures released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

July’s figures show unemployment at 8.2 per cent for the 34-country group – unchanged for five consecutive months.

The Eurozone is faring even worse, with unemployment sticking at 10 per cent.

Significant changes were experienced by a few countries over the month. Mexico saw unemployment fall by 0.5 percentage points to 5.3 per cent, while Luxembourg’s increased by 0.3 percentage points to 4.6 per cent.

Spain remains the worst performer with unemployment at a staggering 21.2 per cent. It is over eighteen months since the rate was last below 20 per cent.

Meanwhile South Korea has enjoyed very low rates, at 3.3 per cent for since May.

In absolute terms these percentages translate to 44.5m people unemployed across the OECD in July 2011. That is down 2m from the same month in 2010, but still 11.4m higher than in July 2008, when the total unemployment rate was down at 6.1 per cent.

The lack of movement in the US jobs market – unemployment has remained at 9.1 per cent – has heightened expectations of a further round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve.

In the UK, too, a further loosening of monetary policy has been predicted thanks to the weak economic and employment outlook, though the Bank of England held off from such measures in last week’s interest rate decision.