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Employment rate edges up in leading economies: OECD

PARIS--For every 100 people of working age in leading economies, 65 were in a job in the second quarter of the year, slightly more than in the first quarter, the OECD said on Tuesday.

A general trend emerged of improved employment rates for older people in response to reforms delaying retirement, but also of a worsening employment rate for young people.

The quarterly data also showed in general significantly higher employment rates in northern Europe than in the south where the economies of several countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain are suffering severely from attempts to correct debt crises.

The OECD average employment rate in the second quarter was 73 percent for men and 57.1 percent for women.

The ratio measures the proportion of people of working age who are employed.

High in the ranking came Canada with the rate standing at 72.3 percent on a quarterly rise of 0.3 percent, the second quarterly rise in a row.

The ratio for Japan was steady at 70.4 percent.

Lower down the scale came the eurozone, with the fourth quarterly fall, of 0.2 percentage points to 63.8 percent. The ratio for Germany was 72.7 percent, for France 63.9 percent, and Italy 56.8 percent. The ratio for Spain was 55.6 percent.

The rate for the United States was stable at 67 percent after three months of increases.

Britain, a member of the European Union but not of the eurozone, showed an employment rate of 69.9 percent. Likewise for Sweden the ratio was 74.3 percent. Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, showed a ratio of 79.3 percent.

The overall rate for the 34 countries belonging to the OECD of 65 percent was 0.1 percentage points higher than in the first quarter and 0.2 points higher than for the second quarter of last year.

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