Unemployment still high

Long-term unemployment a particular concern

The OECD’s latest Employment Outlook released Thursday 15 September says that in mid 2011 the number of unemployed people in the OECD area had declined to just over 44 million, still more than 13 million higher than immediately before the crisis.

In the US, the share of the unemployed who have been out of work for more than a year reached a record high of over 30%. In Spain such long-term unemployment exceeds 40%.

Youth unemployment is also a grave problem. In the first quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 was 17.4% in the OECD area, compared with 7% for adults aged 25 and over. Targeting youth will reduce the risk of young people falling into long-term unemployment and losing touch with the job market.

Effective labour market policies can make a difference, the report says. Some OECD countries, including Australia, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands have managed to contain the increase in unemployment. Germany has actually reduced unemployment during the crisis, and was the only major economy where long-term unemployment has fallen.

Income support for the unemployed should be maintained or even reinforced where assistance is relatively low, difficult to access and where the long-term unemployed face a serious risk of falling into poverty and exclusion, the OECD says, warning that it is essential to combine income support with re-employment programmes to prevent people becoming dependent on benefits.

For more detail, see here

Read remarks by Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD

©OECD Observer September 2011




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