OECD Employment Outlook 2009
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OECD Employment Outlook 2009

Tackling the Jobs Crisis

This 2009 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook provides an annual assessment of labour market developments and prospects in member countries. This issue focuses on the jobs crisis in particular and looks at steps taken by governments to help workers and the unemployed. It recommends ways of preventing current high levels of unemployment becoming entrenched.

The first chapter looks at the jobs crisis itself, analysing the implications for employment and social policy. The second chapter looks at how industry, firm, and worker characteristics shape job and worker flows. The third chapter examines the problem of the working poor, now exacerbated by the crisis. And the fourth examines pathways on to and off of disability benefits, a growing problem in most OECD countries. As in previous editions, a comprehensive statistical annex provides the latest data.
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Is Work the Best Antidote to Poverty? You do not have access to this content

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Employment reduces considerably the poverty risk, but does not solve all problems. On average in the OECD area, 7% of individuals living in households with at least one worker are poor. And while in-work poverty is often related to insufficient work participation, resulting from very short part-time work or very short employment spells over the year, there are other important factors at work. In particular, poverty rates are higher for families with children. Thus, fighting in-work poverty requires implementing targeted policy responses. In this respect, social transfers play a key role, precisely because they can be targeted towards the most vulnerable households: on average in the OECD area, they reduce by almost half the rate of in-work poverty. Among these transfers, in-work benefit schemes can be particularly effective, if they are well conceived and combined with a binding minimum wage set – by law or collective agreements – to a moderate level. Conversely, since the risk of in-work poverty is much less related to hourly wage rates than it is with working time, employment duration or household composition, the minimum wage cannot constitute the main element of an effective strategy to alleviate in-work poverty.
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