Labour Market

OECD Employment Rate at Record High

Strong signals from OECD labour markets as employment rates hit or were near record highs in 9 of the 38 OECD countries in Q3 2023. In the chart below, I’ve plotted the Q3 rate alongside the record high and mean quarterly rate since 2005 (when OECD series start). It shows that most countries are seeing employment rates well above their historical averages.

The average employment rate across the OECD in Q3 matched the previous high at 70.1% from Q2 2023, meaning that 7 out of 10 people aged 15 to 64 were employed.

When paired with the latest unemployment figures showing a record low of 4.8% (OECD-average), it is evident that OECD labour markets are operating at high steam.

Still, employment/unemployment are quantitative measures capturing only part of labour market performance. It is worth noting that in its Employment Outlook 2023, the OECD warned that we are seeing “fall in real wages in almost all industries and OECD countries”, adding that “[C]ompany profits have risen more than labour costs in many countries and sectors, suggesting that the cost-of-living crisis has not been equally shared by everyone.”

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