Labour statistics

Unemployment Rates, OECD - Updated: March 2023


OECD unemployment rate remains at record low of 4.9% in January 2023


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14 Mar 2023 - The OECD unemployment rate remained at 4.9% in January 2023, the seventh consecutive month at this record low since the start of the series in 2001 (Figure 1 and Table 1). The unemployment rate was stable in 12 of 38 OECD countries, but close to its record low in only 7 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, and the United States (Figure 2 and Table 1). The number of unemployed persons declined to 33.2 million, remaining close to the record low reached in July 2022.

In January 2023, the OECD unemployment rate for women fell slightly from 5.2% to 5.1%, now 0.5 percentage point higher than the rate for men, which remained broadly stable (Figure 1). However, the aggregate gender gap between women and men in the OECD area masks wide differences across countries. Relative to men, the unemployment rate for women was higher in 18 OECD countries, with the largest gender gaps recorded in Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Spain and Türkiye. By contrast, the unemployment rate for women was lower in 16 OECD countries. No gender gap was observed in January 2023 in Austria, Hungary, Mexico, and Norway (Figure 3 and Table 3). The OECD unemployment rate was broadly stable for younger workers and workers aged 25 and above (Table 4). 

In the European Union and the euro area, the unemployment rate remained stable, close to their records low, at 6.1% and 6.7%, respectively. The unemployment rate was stable or decreased in half of the euro area countries. The largest decline was observed in Greece, where the unemployment rate reached its lowest level since December 2009, returning to the declining path observed since January 2022. However, Lithuania and Portugal recorded marked increases.

Outside Europe, the unemployment rate fell in Korea and Türkiye, and was broadly stable in the other non-European OECD countries. By contrast, it increased in Australia and New Zealand. More recent data show that in February 2023 the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6% in the United States while it remained unchanged for the third consecutive month at 5.0% in Canada. 


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