OECD in Figures: Unemployment


DON'T MISS: The 2015 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook will be published on 9 July 2015.

Unemployment remains well above its pre‑crisis levels in many OECD countries, reflecting the disappointing pace of the global economic recovery so far. Across the OECD area, more than 42 million people are unemployed, still 7.7 million more than in July 2008; the OECD foresees only a relatively small decline to around 40 million by 2017. More investment will be needed to fill the large job gaps that remain in many countries, and to address the deep scars from the crisis that affect both people with work and those without. 



Long-term unemployment has reached new peaks in most countries, and remains a major cause of concern. For the OECD area as a whole, 16.3 million people – more than one in three of all unemployed – had been out of work for 12 months or more in the first quarter of 2014. The size of this group has increased by 85% since 2007. This is costly to the economy, not least because people staying out of work for a long period end up losing their skills and run a higher risk of dropping out of the labour market and facing poverty.



The jobs crisis has hit youth harder than any other group. In this context, careful attention must be paid to supporting the most vulnerable, the so called NEETs – young people who are neither employed nor in education or training, who often also have the most difficulties to enter the labour market. 



High shares of NEET youth are an important concern not least because of the “scarring effects” that this situation can have, affecting their careers,  labour market prospects and future earnings. There are wider social consequences of youth unemployment, too. For instance, finding a job is a key factor in a young person’s decision to leave the parents’ home, and also typically, in starting a family.



The benefits of investing in education are clear. On average, over 80% of tertiary-educated people are employed compared with less than 55% of people with below upper secondary education. 



Most of the figures featured on this page come from OECD Employment Outlook 2014, the new edition will be published on 9 July 2015. Don't miss our next release of OECD in Figures on Friday 19 June focusing on employment and the quality of jobs across various socio-economic groups. 


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