OECD unemployment rate declines in November amid economic recovery

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in November from 7.1% in October

People walk through a busy shopping area amid the coronavirus pandemic on January 05, 2021 in New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them and threatening fines for hospitals that don’t use up their doses quickly enough. He says between 70% and 90% of New Yorkers need to be vaccinated for the vaccine to be effective. / AFP / Angela Weiss

The unemployment rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries declined to 6.9 per cent in November from 7.1 per cent in October, with workers returning to jobs as an economic recovery was underway, the latest data shows.

Overall 45.5 million people remained unemployed in the OECD, which includes a number of countries in the Euro area as well as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the UK, Mexico and Canada, among others.

The unemployment rate, however, remains 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February before Covid-19 hit the labour market, according to the Paris-based organisation.

“In November, the unemployment rate in the euro area decreased to 8.3 per cent, from 8.4 per cent in October, but remained 1.1 percentage points above its February level,” the OECD said on Wednesday.

“Declines of 0.3 percentage point or more were observed in Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal, while increases of 0.2 percentage point or more were registered in France, Ireland and Spain.”

The rate of decline is faster among women than men as well as among youth, aged between 15 to 24 and people above 25 years of age, the OECD said.

In the US and Canada, the unemployment rate in November fell by 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points to 6.7 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.

The unemployment rate also fell in Japan to 2.9 per cent from 3.1 per cent in October but remained higher than in February by 0.5 percentage point. It fell to 15.5 per cent in Colombia from 16.3 per cent in October. Marginal declines were also observed in Mexico and South Korea.

The US has about 10.7 million unemployed people, while in the European Union the number is about 15.9 million. Canada had 1.7 million unemployed people as of November.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global trade and pummelled air travel since its outbreak. As of Wednesday, global infections surpassed 92.1 million with more than 1.97 million deaths, according to Worldometer, which tracks the pandemic. Recoveries stand at 65.9 million.

The global economy is expected to grow this year as countries roll out vaccination programmes to contain the pandemic. The OECD expects the global economy to expand 4.2 per cent in 2021 and 3.7 per cent in 2022.