Unemployment of OECD `lost` generation edges down

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 19:21

Paris: Eurozone unemployment is still far higher than the average rate across advanced countries, the OECD said today just as Britain reported another fall.

However, the outlook for young people - the "lost" generation - finding work in the 34 OECD countries is improving slowly.

Across the 18 countries in the eurozone, the unemployment rate in April was 11.7 per cent.\

This is about half as much again as the overall rate of 7.4 per cent across the 34 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which published the monthly data.

The rate across OECD countries edged down slightly by 0.1 percentage point in April from the March level, and in the eurozone also by 0.1 points.

One improvement was a sharp fall, of 0.6 percentage points over one month, of the high levels of unemployment among young people in the OECD area, which has led policymakers to speak of a "lost" generation.

In April, 10.7 million young people were unemployed, about a quarter of all OECD-area people without work, even though the total has fallen by 1.3 million over a year.

The figures for unemployment among 15-24 year olds are extremely high in some countries: 56.9 per cent in Greece, 53.5 per cent in Spain, 43.3 per cent in Italy, 36.1 per cent in Portugal and 32.9 per cent in the Slovak Republic.

The latest overall figures mean that across the 34 advanced democracies covered by the OECD, about 45 million people are registered as without work.

On the bright side, this is 4.9 million fewer than at the worst point in April 2010, after the financial crisis.

But that is still 10.3 million higher than when the financial crisis began just after July 2008.

Outside the eurozone area, the US unemployment rate fell sharply by 0.4 percentage points in April from the March level to 6.3 per cent and was stable in Canada at 6.9 per cent and in Japan at 3.6 per cent.

More recent data points to a steady US figure, but a slight increase in Canada to 7.0 per cent.

Unemployment is usually a lagging indicator, trailing behind economic downturns when businesses cut staff and recruitment, and also behind upturns, although the labour market responds more quickly in both directions in open economies.

Other recent data paints a picture of advanced economies recovering rather sluggishly from the financial and then the eurozone debt crises, and that this pick-up is not rich in job creation, although unemployment has fallen in the United States and Britain and is low in Japan.

AFP

First Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 19:21

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