OECD area employment rate rose to 66.8% in the first quarter of 2021, but wide disparities across countries are visible
The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose to 66.8% in the first quarter of 2021, from 66.7% in the previous quarter. Some care is needed in interpreting the latest developments in the OECD employment rate, as methodological changes to the EU Labour Force Survey blur the comparison between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 for EU countries. In addition, a large part of the increase in the third and, to a lesser extent, fourth quarter of 2020 reflects the return to work of furloughed workers in Canada and the United States, where they are recorded as unemployed, whereas in most other countries, they are recorded as employed.
In the euro area, the employment rate stood at 66.9% in the first quarter of 2021, as compared to 68.4% in the United States and 77.6% in Japan. A large disparity is also observed within the area, with the employment rate ranging from a maximum of 79.3% in the Netherlands to a minimum of 53.9% in Greece.