The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported a 7.9% unemployment rate for the month of September 2013, unchanged from previous monthly levels. OECD unemployment in absolute numbers stood at 47.9 million persons, 0.1 million less than August 2013 levels.

OECD unemployment

However, unemployment among the developed nations has grown exponentially in recent years. In July 2008, unemployment across the OECD area stood at a mere 34.7 million persons, a 38% increase over the past five years.

Figure 1: OECD Unemployment Rates

OECD
Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Problems across Europe and other areas

The unemployment rate across the euro area was much higher and stood still at 12.2%. “This stability conceals diverging patterns across countries,” comments the OECD press release.

In France, the unemployment rate increased from 11% in August to 11.1% in September 2013. Similarly, Italy saw a 0.1% increase in unemployment rates during the month. Both these countries are going through a tough time maintaining their economic stability. However, Germany experienced a decline of 0.1% in its unemployment rate, dropping to 5.2%, “The lowest level since 1991” according to the OECD.

Other areas did not perform so well either. “Among other OECD countries, the unemployment rate rose in Mexico (by 0.1 percentage point to 5.0 percent), while it fell for, respectively, the third and second consecutive months in the United States (by 0.1 percentage point, to 7.2 percent) and in Canada (by 0.2 percentage point, to 6.9 percent). In September, unemployment rates also fell in Japan (by 0.1 percentage point, to 4.0 percent), Australia (by 0.2 percentage point, to 5.6 percent) and Korea (by 0.1 percentage point, to 3.0 percent). However, more recent data for October 2013 show that the unemployment rate edged up to 7.3 percent in the United States while it reminded stable in Canada,” stated the OECD.

Gender and age differences

Unemployment across the OECD nations has declined among women to 7.8% from 7.9%, while it has remained constant at 8% among men. A similar trend was observed in countries like the U.S., Slovenia, Iceland, Germany and Belgium.

Table 1: Unemployment rates by gender

Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD unemployment rate for the young (defined as between the age of 15 and 24) dropped 0.1% to 16% while that of prime and older workers (over the age of 24) remained constant at 6.8%. Furthermore, OECD says that the unemployment “increased by 0.1 percentage point in the euro area, to 24.1 percent. The youth unemployment rates increased significantly in France (by 0.5 percentage point, to 26.1 percent), while remaining stable in Spain (56.5 percent) and Portugal (36.9 percent) and falling in Ireland (by 0.4 percentage point, to 28.0 percent).”

Table 2: Unemployment rates by age

Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)