OECD employment rates continued to rise in final quarter of 2021

The OECD area employment rate rose to 68.0% in the third quarter of 2021, from 67.4% in the second quarter.

Employment rates represent the percentage share of the working-age population with jobs in a given economy.

The rise in the OECD area employment rate occurred alongside an increase in the labour force participation rate – the share of the working-age population that is either employed or unemployed – to 72.5%, up from 72.2% in the second quarter.

The OECD area employment rate rose at broadly the same pace for women (to 60.8%, from 60.2% in the second quarter) and men (to 75.3%, from 74.7%), as well as among young people aged 15-24 (to 41.6%, from 40.9%), people aged 25-54 (to 77.9%, from 77.3%) and those aged 55-64 (to 61.7%, from 61.1%).

Increases in the employment rate were reported in 35 out of 37 OECD countries for which data is available, with a decrease registered in Australia and a stable employment rate in Finland.

The employment rate rose by 0.7 percentage point, to 68.4%, in the euro area as a whole. It increased by 1.4 percentage points in Canada (to 73.8%), by 0.8 percentage point in the United States (to 69.8%, still 1.9 percentage points below the pre-pandemic rate), by 0.4 percentage point in Korea (to 66.8%) and Mexico (to 61.5%), by 0.3 percentage point in the United Kingdom (to 75.4%), and by 0.2 percentage point in Japan (to 77.9%). More recent data for the fourth quarter of 2021 show that employment rates increased further in the United States (to 70.5%) and Canada (to 74.8%).

In the third quarter, the largest increases in the employment rate were recorded in Chile (to 59.2%, from 57.3%), Colombia (to 61.5%, from 59.6%), Costa Rica (to 58.3%, from 55.6%) and Ireland (to 71.1%, from 69.1%). However, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica are also the countries for which the gap to pre-pandemic rates (recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019) is the highest.

In the third quarter, employment rates were above pre-pandemic levels in Australia, France, Greece, Hungary, New Zealand and Portugal.