OECD unemployment rate drops slightly to 8.0% in March 2013
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15/05/2013 - The OECD unemployment rate decreased to 8.0% in March 2013, compared with 8.1% in the previous month. However, this small decline masks diverging patterns across countries.
In the euro area, the unemployment rate hit a new record high - up 0.1 percentage point to 12.1% in March. The unemployment rate also rose by 0.2 percentage point in Canada (to 7.2%). By contrast, it fell by 0.1 percentage point in the United States (to 7.6%), by 0.2 percentage point in Japan (to 4.1%) and by 0.3 percentage point in Korea (to 3.2%). More recent data referring to the month of April show that the unemployment rate continued to fall in the United States (by 0.1 percentage points to 7.5%) while it was stable in Canada.
Trends in unemployment rates have differed across population groups since the beginning of the financial and economic crisis. In March, the OECD unemployment rate for men (down 0.1 percentage point to 7.9%) was 1.0 percentage point below the peak of 8.9% reached in October 2009. By contrast, the OECD unemployment rate for women (at 8.1%) was only 0.1 percentage point below its highest level of 8.2% reached in December 2012, having hovered around 8.0% since July 2009. In March 2013, the unemployment rates for men and women were respectively 2.0 and 2.1 percentage points above their pre-crisis level.
The OECD unemployment rate for youth (unchanged at 16.5%) was 0.8 percentage point below the peak reached in September 2009, but remained 3.5 percentage points above its pre-crisis level and was more than twice as high as the rate for the working age population as a whole. In March 2013, more than one active youth in three was unemployed in Italy, Portugal and Slovak Republic, and more than one in two in Greece and Spain.
Overall, there were 48.3 million people unemployed in the OECD area in March 2013, 0.4 million less than in February but still 13.6 million more than in July 2008.