OECD unemployment rate holds steady

The OECD area unemployment rate remained unchanged from August to September at 8.5% and now has been broadly stable since June 2010.

New data for October also shows unemployment rates unchanged for America at 9.6%, while in Canada, Germany and Japan unemployment fell slightly. Canada’s was down 0.1 percentage point to 7.9%.

The 2010 rate of unemployment is still 15.4m higher than in September 2007

The OECD says trends are diverging at a national level. Germany’s September 6.7% unemployment rate has been declining steadily, and is noticeably lower than the 8.4% rate reported in 2007.

Comparatively low unemployment rates remain in the other central European countries such as the Netherlands, at 4.4%, and Austria, at 4.5%.

By contrast, peripheral eurozone countries such as Spain, at 20.8%, the Slovak Republic, at 14.7%, and Ireland, at 14.1%, are still experiencing high and rising unemployment rates. (article continues below)

The levels of employment in the OECD area still remain close to post-war highs. Although the overall figure has continued to fall since September 2009, the decline has been slow and steady.

There were 45.5m people unemployed in the OECD countries in September 2010, down 0.6m from September 2009.

The 2010 rate of unemployment is still 15.4m higher than in September 2007.

Employment rates fell slightly in the first two quarters of 2010 in Britain. The recent statistics published by the OECD suggest this steady fall may continue.