Social challenges

Unemployment edges down to 5.7% in October 2021

09/12/2021 PNG

The unemployment rate in the OECD area fell for the sixth consecutive month to 5.7% in October 2021, from 5.8% in September – and at a slower pace than in previous months. It remains 0.5 percentage points above the pre-pandemic rate in February 2020. The number of unemployed workers fell 200 000 to 38.3m, compared with the pre-pandemic level of 35.5m.

For younger people aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate saw a slight rise compared to September (12.1% vs. 12.0%), while for those 25 and above it fell (4.9% vs. 5.0%). Among women it was stable (6.0%), while for men it edged down (5.5% vs. 5.6%).

The downward trend in unemployment rate since April 2020 should be interpreted with caution: much of it reflects the return of temporary laid-off workers in the US and Canada – unlike in most other countries, where they are recorded as employed. (Methodological changes to the EU Labour Force Survey also blur the comparison for several European Union countries between December 2020 and subsequent months.) Moreover, some non-employed people may be “out of the labour force”, either because they are not able to actively look for work or are not available to work; the unemployment rate therefore may conceal additional slack in the labour market.

See more: OECD Data indicator - Unemployment rate