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OECD Employment Outlook 2018

image of OECD Employment Outlook 2018

The 2018 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook reviews labour market trends and prospects in OECD countries. Chapter 1 presents recent labour market developments. Wage growth remains sluggish due to low inflation expectations, weak productivity growth and adverse trends in low-pay jobs. Chapter 2 looks at the decline of the labour share and shows that this is partially related to the emergence of "superstar" firms, which invest massively in capital-intensive technologies. Chapter 3 investigates the role of collective bargaining institutions for labour market performance. Systems that co-ordinate wages across sectors are associated with better employment outcomes, but firm-level adjustments of sector-level agreements are sometimes required to avoid adverse effects on productivity. Chapter 4 examines the role of policy to facilitate the transition towards new jobs of workers who were dismissed for economic reasons, underlying the need of early interventions in the unemployment spell. Chapter 5 analyses jobseekers' access to unemployment benefits and shows that most jobseekers do not receive unemployment benefits and coverage has often been falling since the Great Recession. Chapter 6 investigates the reason why the gender gap in labour income increases over the working life, stressing the role of the lower professional mobility of women around childbirth.

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Executive summary

While the impact of the global financial crisis on job quality and inclusiveness persists, employment rates are historically high in most OECD countries and the average unemployment rate is back to its pre‑crisis level. In spite of this, nominal wage growth remains significantly lower than it was before the crisis for comparable levels of unemployment, and the downward shift in the Phillips curve – the relationship between unemployment and wage growth – has continued during the recovery. Low inflation expectations and the productivity slowdown, which accompanied the Great Recession and have not fully recovered yet, have both contributed to this shift. Low‑pay jobs have also been another important factor. In particular, there has been a significant worsening of the earnings of part‑time workers relative to that of full‑time workers associated with the rise of involuntary part‑time employment in a number of countries. Moreover, the comparatively low wages of workers who have recently experienced spells of unemployment, combined with still high unemployment rates in some countries, have pushed up the number of lower‑paid workers, thereby lowering average wage growth.

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