Employment rate edges up in leading economies: OECD

AFP, Tuesday 16 Oct 2012

Latest report puts average employment in the world's leading economies at 65 per cent

For every 100 people of working age in leading economies, 65 were in a job in the second quarter of the year, slightly more than in the first quarter, the OECD said on Tuesday.

A general trend emerged of improved employment rates for older people in response to reforms delaying retirement, but also of a worsening employment rate for young people.
The quarterly data also showed in general significantly higher employment rates in northern Europe than in the south where the economies of several countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain are suffering severely from attempts to correct debt crises.  
The OECD average employment rate in the second quarter was 73.0 per cent for men and 57.1 per cent for women.
The ratio measures the proportion of people of working age who are employed. 
High in the ranking came Canada with the rate standing at 72.3 per cent on a quarterly rise of 0.3 per cent, the second quarterly rise in a row.
The ratio for Japan was steady at 70.4 per cent.
Lower down the scale came the eurozone, with the fourth quarterly fall, of 0.2 percentage points to 63.8 per cent.
The ratio for Germany was 72.7 per cent, for France 63.9 per cent, and Italy 56.8 per cent. The ratio for Spain was 55.6 per cent.
The rate for the United States was stable at 67.0 per cent after three months of increases.
Britain, a member of the European Union but not of the eurozone, showed an employment rate of 69.9 per cent. Likewise for Sweden the ratio was 74.3 per cent.
Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, showed a ratio of 79.3 per cent.
The overall rate for the 34 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development of 65.0 per cent was 0.1 percentage points higher than in the first quarter and 0.2 points higher than for the second quarter of last year.
In the 12 months to the second quarter the rate of employment fell sharply in Greece, stricken by a debt crisis and long recession, by 4.7 percentage points to 51.4 per cent.
The lowest ratio was in Turkey, of 48.8 per cent.
The OECD said that there were significant differences in trends for employment rates across the OECD area and among population groups and notably between age groups.
"The employment rate of older workers, at 55.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, was 1.3 percentage points higher than at the onset of the crisis," it said.
"Many OECD countries have enacted reforms to delay retirement, which have contributed to increase the employment rate of older workers against a background of rising unemployment."
But the situation for young people had continued to deteriorate, the OECD said. 
"At 39.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, the youth unemployment rate was 3.5 percentage points lower than before the crisis."
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