(AFP) – Apr 11, 2012
PARIS — About 45 million people qualify as unemployed in the 34 OECD countries, with the unemployment rate steady overall but highest in the eurozone, the OECD said on Wednesday.
The overall rate was steady at 8.2 percent in February but the eurozone rate was 10.8 percent, "maintaining a record since the start of the global financial crisis."
The rate across all of the OECD advanced countries was little changed since January 2011, but the eurozone rate rose by 0.1 percent in February for the eighth month running.
"Around 45.0 million people were unemployed across the OECD area in February 2012, up 0.4 million from February 2011 ... and still 14.3 million higher than in February 2008," the OECD said.
The February data concerned 24 of the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The latest figures compare with an overall OECD unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in 2011, 8.6 percent in 2010 and 8.4 percent in 2009.
In the seven biggest OECD countries in February, the rate was 7.5 percent, the same as in January, from 7.6 percent in the last quarter of last year and 7.7 percent for the earlier part of 2011.
"New data for March 2012 show the unemployment rate falling in both the United States (to 8.2 percent, down from 9.1 percent in August 2011) and Canada (to 7.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent in the previous month," the OECD said.
The rate in February for Japan was 4.5 percent. The lowest figure was in South Korea at 3.7 percent, up 0.5 points.
Within the eurozone, unemployment rates varied widely against the background of the debt crisis, austerity measures to correct public finances, and economic slowdown.
For example, the rate in Spain rose by 0.3 percentage points in the month to 23.6 percent which was the highest figure in the OECD, in Portugal by 0.2 points to 15.0 percent, in Italy by 0.2 points to 9.3 percent and in Ireland it was steady at 14.7 percent. Data for Greece was not available but the last data for December put it at 21.0 percent.
In Germany, the rate was steady at 5.7 percent but in the second leading eurozone economy, France, the rate was 10.0 percent, unchanged from the January level.
For the European Union, the rate in February was 10.2 percent, up from 10.1 percent in January and 9.7 percent in 2011. The latest available OECD data for Britain put the rate there in December at 8.3 percent.
The data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development was based on harmonised rates for each country which may vary from the official rates calculated by national statistics institutes, and all the data was seasonally adjusted.
Unemployment data issued by national statistics institutes is based on definitions of who is registered as unemployed and is available for work, while some other headline unemployment figures are based on different calculations or on surveys.
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