In 1994, OECD countries endorsed a set of policy guidelines intended to cut high and persistent unemployment – the OECD Jobs Strategy. For a decade, this groundbreaking work became an influential blueprint in the reform process of member countries. In 2003, the Employment and Labour Ministers asked the Secretariat to reassess the Jobs Strategy in light of new evidence and emerging challenges.
This report, together with the background analysis published as the 2006 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook, responds to such ministerial request. It puts forward a restated OECD Jobs Strategy with a comprehensive set of policy recommendations covering macroeconomic management, incentives to work and to create jobs, taxes and welfare benefits as well as skills development.
Download the brochure on the Policy Lessons from Reassessing the OECD Jobs Strategy (2.5Mb, pdf, English). A German version of this report is also available (390Kb, pdf, German).
In the mid-1990s, the OECD formulated a set of policy recommendations intended to reduce joblessness and improve labour market performance. This took place against the background of sharp rises in unemployment over several decades. The ten broad recommendations in the OECD Jobs Strategy constituted a wide-ranging programme to tackle the key challenges of that period. A decade later, the time has come to take stock of whether these policy recommendations have proved effective and how they might need to be revised and extended to respond to new challenges.
The challenges faced by policy makers in most OECD countries concerned with improving labour market performance have widened. The original Jobs Strategy focused mainly on ways to cut high and persistent unemployment. While this is still an important unfinished task in many countries, removing barriers to labour market participation has become the key priority, made more urgent by the need to limit the adverse consequences of population ageing. A further key challenge is to ensure that people and firms are able to take advantage of, and adjust quickly to, changes brought about by technological advances and globalisation. Such adjustment pressures may intensify in the future as large labour-rich countries, such as China and India, become better integrated in the world economy.
The reassessment in this brochure concentrates on the original policy recommendations most directly related to the functioning of the labour market. The part of the original Jobs Strategy that has not been included in this reassessment, namely recommendations to enhance the creation and diffusion of technological know-how, remains important and has been reviewed recently in detail in the OECD Growth Study. Indeed, the policy recommendations contained in that study and in the Going for Growth publications are important complements to this reassessment.
This brochure first gives an overview of labour market performance since 1994 (Section I), and then reviews the new insights gained from analyses and experiences of what works and what does not (Section II). Informed by this analysis, a revised subset of the original policy recommendations is then presented at the end of the brochure as the Restated OECD Jobs Strategy.