Global employment fails to return to pre-crisis levels, says OECD

Jobseekers queue to enter an OAED employment center in Athens, Greece, last September.

Kostas Tsironis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jobseekers queue to enter an OAED employment center in Athens, Greece, last September.

Employment levels in the world’s most developed economies are yet to return to pre-crisis norms, despite displaying “stable” growth, according to new data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The unemployment rate across the OECD’s 35 member countries was “stable” at 6.1 percent in February 2017, but still remains approximately 15 percent higher than in April 2008, prior to the global financial crisis.

As of February 2017, 38 million people within the largest global economies were unemployed, 5.4 million more than nine years ago.

Latvia and Italy saw the largest declines in unemployment levels over the month, according to the data, down 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. However, unemployment rates across the euro area remain notably high at 9.5 percent. Within the EU this falls to 8 percent and within the G7 it drops further still to 5.3 percent.

Canada and Japan also recorded 0.2 percent declines in the unemployment rate over the month, while the U.S. and Mexico saw a fall of 0.1 percent.

However, Japan remains ahead of the curve with total unemployment levels at just 2.8 percent. It is followed by Iceland with unemployment at 2.9 percent.

Youth unemployment remains above average

Employment levels remain especially poor among young people in developed nations. While the unemployment rate for those aged 15-24 fell 0.2 percent in February, it remains high at 12.3 percent.

According to estimates, it remains highest in Greece. February data was not available but figures from December 2016 show youth unemployment levels at 45.2 percent. Spain (41.5 percent) and Italy (35.2 percent) also recorded notably high figures.

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