Labour statistics

Unemployment Rates, OECD - Updated: May 2024


OECD unemployment rate stable at 4.9% but rising among women in March 2024


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16 May 2024 - The OECD unemployment rate was stable at 4.9% in March 2024, continuing to remain below or at 5.0% for the last two years (Figure 1 and Table 1). In March, 15 OECD countries recorded a rate below or equal to 5.0% including Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. The rate was unchanged in 22 OECD countries, rose in 8 countries, and declined in 2 countries. Nine OECD countries recorded a rate of more than 2.5 percentage points [p.p.] above its record low, with the largest gaps recorded in Denmark, Estonia, Luxembourg, and Spain (Figure 2 and Table 1). The number of unemployed persons in the OECD increased to 34.2 million (from 33.9 million in February), driven primarily by an increase in the number of unemployed women (Table 2). 

The OECD unemployment rate for women increased to 5.3%, 0.7 p.p. higher than the rate for men, which was broadly stable. The unemployment rate for women exceeded that of men in the European Union, the euro area and 20 OECD countries in March 2024 (or in the latest period available) with the largest gaps observed in Colombia, Greece, and Türkiye (Figure 3 and Table 3). In March 2024, the OECD unemployment rates were stable among youth (aged 15-24) and workers aged 25 and above. The youth unemployment rate remained close to or above 20% in 11 OECD countries in March 2024 (or in the latest available period) and increased in 15, with rises of more than 1.0 p.p. in Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden (Table 4). 

In the European Union and the euro area, the unemployment rate remained at record lows of 6.0% and 6.5%, respectively, in March 2024. It was stable or increased in most OECD euro area countries. Only Greece and Italy recorded decreases (Table 1).

Outside Europe, unemployment rates were stable or increased in March 2024. The largest increases were recorded in Canada and Colombia (Table 1). The unemployment rate in Canada and the United States were estimated to be broadly stable in April 2024 at 6.1% and 3.9%, respectively.









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