Jobless households

OECD Observer

Click to enlarge.

Unemployment is historically low in many OECD countries, and is below 10% in all but a few of them. But the picture for households, rather than just individuals, is less positive. According to Society at a Glance 2005, even in the UK, where unemployment is in low single figures, in 2000 as many as 13% of people lived in households headed by a person of working age where no one had a job.

In Germany, 16% of people live in such jobless households, the second highest of the countries covered. In France jobless households came to 11%, despite increases in employment rates. In the US, just 5% of people lived in jobless households.

While the share of the population living in jobless households has edged down since the mid-1990s in the OECD, the fact that higher employment did not lead to more significant declines in household joblessness reflects the growth in the proportion of two-earner households. High joblessness can lead to higher social distress and dependence on welfare services. Children growing up in jobless households are particularly vulnerable to poverty, and their educational and future employment prospects are affected.

Also, joblessness is more likely in single-parent households (32% on average compared to 5% in two-parent households). The trouble is, the proportion of lone-parent households is increasing, so employment may have to rise more significantly in the future to reduce both household joblessness and poverty.

©OECD Observer No 245, November 2004




Economic data

GDP growth: -1.8% Q1 2020/Q4 2019
Consumer price inflation: 0.9% Apr 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -4.3% exp, -3.9% imp, Q1 2020/Q4 2019
Unemployment: 8.4% Apr 2020
Last update: 9 July 2020

OECD Observer Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Digital Editions

Don't miss

Most Popular Articles

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2020