Unemployment Rates, OECD – Updated: February 2023

OECD unemployment rate unchanged at 4.8% in December 2023

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15 Feb 2024 – The OECD unemployment rate was stable at 4.8% in December 2023, having remained below 5.0% throughout 2023 (Figure 1 and Table 1). The rate was unchanged in 21 OECD countries in December, rose in 7 countries, and declined in 5 countries. The unemployment rate was more than 3.5 percentage points [p.p.] above its record low in Luxembourg and Spain (Figure 2 and Table 1).

In 2023, the number of unemployed persons in the OECD continued to decline for the third consecutive year, reaching 33.2 million, the lowest annual level since the series started in 2001 (Figure 3). The number of unemployed workers reached annual record lows in Israel, Latvia, Poland, and Slovenia.

In December 2023, the OECD unemployment rates for women and men were broadly stable, at 5.0% and 4.7%, respectively. The same holds for younger workers (aged 15-24) and those aged 25 and above. The youth unemployment rate recorded the largest increases in Austria, Czechia, Iceland, and Sweden. Youth unemployment rates close to or above 20% were recorded in 10 OECD countries (Tables 3 and 4).

In the European Union and the euro area, the unemployment rate remained at record lows of 5.9% and 6.4%, respectively. In December, it was stable or decreased slightly in all OECD euro area countries except in Austria where it increased markedly (Table 1).

Outside the European OECD countries, unemployment rates in December 2023 were stable or increased. The largest rises were recorded in Colombia and Korea (Table 1). In January 2024, the unemployment rate remained stable at 3.7% for the third consecutive month in the United States, while it declined for the first time since December 2022 in Canada, to 5.7%.

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