OECD Employment Outlook

1999-1266 (online)
1013-0241 (print)
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OECD’s annual report on jobs and employment in OECD countries. Each edition reviews recent trends, policy developments, and prospects. A statistical annex provides data on unemployment rates, incidence of part-time employment, employment/population ratios, and activity rates. Also included are data on expenditure on labour market programmes, average annual wages, and earnings dispersion. Special Chapters examine issues of topical interest.

Also available in French, German
OECD Employment Outlook 2016

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07 July 2016
9789264259102 (EPUB) ; 9789264258129 (PDF) ;9789264258112(print)

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This 2016 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook provides an in-depth review of recent labour market trends and short-term prospects in OECD countries. Chapter 1 examines recent labour market developments, with a special focus on vulnerable youth who are neither working nor in education or training. The size of this group has grown in recent years in many OECD countries and governments will need to take vigorous policy measures if they are to meet the target, recently adopted by G20 governments, of reducing the share of youth who are vulnerable by 15% by 2025. Chapter 2 considers skills use at work: are countries doing enough to assure that workers are able to make full use of their skills on the job? Chapter 3 looks at the short-term effects of structural reforms on employment and identifies successful strategies for reducing transition costs. Chapter 4 looks at how to close the labour market gender gap in emerging economies, proposing a comprehensive policy response to the problem. The Outlook’s analysis and recommendations are complemented by a statistical annex.

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  • Foreword

    The OECD Employment Outlook provides an annual assessment of key labour market developments and prospects in OECD member countries. Each edition also contains several chapters focusing on specific aspects of how labour markets function and the implications for policy in order to promote more and better jobs. This year’s chapters cover vulnerable youth, job quality, skills use at work, the short-term effects of structural reforms, and labour market gender gaps in emerging economies. Reference statistics are also included.

  • Editorial: Back in work, but still out of pocket

    Labour markets continue to recover from the Great Recession, albeit in a painfully slow manner in many OECD countries. While progress has been made in reversing the crisis-related increase in unemployment, little progress has been made in recouping the lost ground on wages. Overall, three-quarters of OECD countries still face either a sizeable unemployment gap – an unemployment rate that is 2 percentage points or more above the pre-crisis level – or a sizeable wage gap – average wages at least 5% below the level they would be at if they had continued the trend increase during 2000-07 – or both.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Labour market conditions are continuing to improve in OECD countries and the share of the working-age population in work is projected to return to its pre-crisis level in 2017, nearly ten years after the onset of the global financial crisis. However, the recovery continues to be uneven and unemployment remains much too high in a considerable number of European OECD countries. Even in countries where labour market slack has been absorbed, low quality jobs and a high level of labour market inequality are of concern. Many of the workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession are now back in work, but wage growth remains subdued and job stress is common. Many of the workers displaced from jobs in manufacturing and construction during the Great Recession found that their skills and experience did not qualify them for the better paying jobs that are being created in the services sector.

  • Recent labour market developments and the short-term outlook

    This chapter provides an overview of recent labour market trends and short-term projections. It also discusses the implications of these developments for policy, particularly the need to better assist the most vulnerable youth to integrate into employment and begin climbing the career ladder. Emphasis is placed on several areas of current policy concern, including: persistently high unemployment in countries where labour market recovery has lagged; the implications of recent wage developments for enabling full economic recovery and improving workers’ living standards; the changing mix of jobs and its implications for matching workers with jobs that make good use of their skills; trends in job quality, including how it was affected by the crisis; and recent changes in the labour market prospects of vulnerable groups, particularly low-skilled youth.

  • Skills use at work

    This chapter analyses how skills are used at work, why skills use matters for workers and economies and its key determinants. It draws on data for the 28 OECD countries participating in the Survey of Adult Skills. The use of skills at work is just as important a determinant of individual and aggregate economic outcomes as the development of skills, but it is less studied. After explaining how skills use at work is measured in the survey, the chapter reviews how skills are used at work and how this varies across countries. It then shows that skills use has a substantial impact on productivity, wages and job satisfaction. The chapter also analyses several determinants of skills use, including High-Performance Work Practices, globalisation and offshoring, and labour market institutions. The chapter concludes by identifying policy options for improving skills use, drawing from specific country examples and the chapter’s empirical findings.

  • Short-term labour market effects of structural reforms

    There is broad consensus that well-designed structural reforms of product and labour markets can have positive effects in the long run. And yet, structural reforms often involve significant reallocation of resources which might entail costly adjustments, especially in the labour market. This chapter exploits long time series of industry-level data in a group of OECD countries to analyse the short-term labour market effects of reforms lowering barriers to entry and the cost of dismissal. It finds that both policies induce non-negligible transitory employment losses on average, a result that is confirmed by complementary evidence from case studies of three recently implemented EPL reforms. The strength of these effects varies depending on the underlying industry and labour market structure, and on cyclical conditions. The chapter also discusses policy options that could help attenuate these costs, and whose applicability and aptness may vary across countries.

  • Closing gender gaps in the labour markets of emerging economies

    Despite unprecedented progress over the past century, gender gaps in the labour market persist throughout the world and are especially marked in emerging economies. While the quantity of jobs held by women has increased, the quality has not: female workers continue to have worse jobs than men. This chapter paints an up-to-date picture of gender gaps in the labour markets of 16 emerging economies accounting for over half of the world’s population. It focuses on recent trends in a broad range of labour market outcomes and it offers a discussion of their key drivers. The analysis unpacks and explains the gender pay gap that persists across the world. The chapter is grounded in original empirical work based on several data sources, including the World Values Survey, PISA, the Gallup World Poll, national labour force surveys and time-use data. Building on this wealth of evidence, the chapter identifies a comprehensive set of policy levers to close gender gaps.

  • Statistical annex

    The tables of the statistical annex show data for all 34 OECD countries. Data for Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation and South Africa are included in a number of tables.

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