Unemployment Rates, OECD - Updated: June 2021


Marginal increase in the OECD unemployment rate in April 2021, to 6.6%, 1.3 percentage points above its pre-pandemic level


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8 June 2021 - The OECD area unemployment rate increased marginally in April 2021, to 6.6% (from 6.5% in March 2021), 1.3 percentage points above the pre-pandemic rate observed in February 2020. This was the first monthly increase since the April 2020 peak. Some care is needed in interpreting the fall in the OECD area unemployment rate compared to the April 2020 peak, as this largely reflects the return of temporary laid-off workers in the United States and Canada, where they are recorded as unemployed.[1] The number of unemployed workers across the OECD area[2] rose by 0.7 million in April 2021, reaching 43.8 million. 

A marginal decline of the unemployment rate was observed in the euro area, to 8.0% (from 8.1% in March), still 0.7 percentage point above its pre-pandemic level (February 2020).

Outside Europe, the unemployment rate increased in several countries: by 1.2 percentage points in Colombia (to 15.0%), 0.6 percentage point in Canada (to 8.1%) and Mexico (to 4.9%), 0.2 percentage point in Japan (to 2.8%) and 0.1 percentage point in the United States (to 6.1%). By contrast, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in Australia (to 5.5%) and Korea (to 3.7%). More recent data show that the unemployment rate increased marginally in Canada (to 8.2%) while it fell by 0.3 percentage point in the United States(to 5.8%) in May 2021. 


Link to underlying data - Source: Labour Force Statistics‌‌


‌‌Composition of the United States unemployment rate, Feb 2020 - May 2021

Source: OECD calculations based on US Current Population Survey



[1] For Canada and the United States, the statistical treatment of people on temporary layoff is different from other countries, where these people are typically recorded as employed. See the note on the divergence in employment and unemployment statistics during the Covid-19 crisis in the end of this news release. 






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