OECD notes a wide and growing disparity between countries' unemployment recovery efforts

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has revealed large and widening disparities in unemployment rates between the 34 OECD countries, predicting the overall jobless rate to fall only slightly over the next year leaving nearly 50m people unemployed.

In its Employment Outlook 2013, the OECD predicts jobless rates to fall from 8.0 per cent in May 2013 to 7.8 per cent by the end of 2014. But there is a large variation between the recovery efforts of different countries, with unemployment expected to fall from 7.6 per cent to below seven per cent in the US, but to grow by 1.4 percentage points in Greece. Young people have been hit hardest with youth unemployment exceeding 50 per cent in some of the worst countries.

The OECD recommends greater employment protection for permanent workers and a concentration of resources on "active labour market policies" like help with job seeking and training. They add that minimum income benefits may need to be strengthened to help the growing number of people in long-term unemployment who risk losing their out of work benefits.

Unemployment in OECD countries

Current (May 2013)Projected (Q4 2014)Change
Korea3.13.10.0
Norway3.53.3-0.2
Japan4.14.10.0
Switzerland4.64.3-0.4
Austria4.74.70.0
Mexico5.14.8-0.3
Germany5.34.7-0.6
Iceland5.54.6-0.9
Australia5.55.5-0.1
Luxembourg5.76.71.0
New Zealand6.26.20.0
Chile6.26.40.2
Netherlands6.67.10.5
Denmark6.87.30.5
Israel6.96.5-0.4
Canada7.16.7-0.4
Czech Republic7.27.50.3
United States7.66.7-0.9
United Kingdom7.77.80.1
Sweden7.98.00.1
OECD8.07.8-0.2
Estonia8.39.20.9
Finland8.47.9-0.5
Turkey8.49.00.6
Belgium8.68.90.3
Hungary10.511.51.0
Poland10.711.40.7
France10.911.20.3
Slovenia11.210.2-1.0
Euro area12.212.30.1
Italy12.212.60.4
Ireland13.614.10.5
Slovak Republic14.214.70.5
Portugal17.618.50.9
Greece26.828.21.4
Spain26.927.80.9

Source: OECD