The OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age in employment – increased to 66.9% in the second quarter of 2016, thus continuing the recovery since early 2011, although at a lower pace (0.1 percentage point) than in the three previous quarters.
In the same quarter, the OECD labour force participation rate (i.e. the proportion of persons of working-age who are either employed or unemployed) was stable at 71.5%, after two consecutive quarters of growth. Since the fourth quarter of 2010, improvements in labour market conditions have translated into gains in employment rates and, to a lesser extent, in labour force participation rates.
Compared to the previous quarter, improvements in the employment rates were observed in 26 OECD countries in the second quarter of 2016. In the euro area, the employment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point (to 65.3%), the eleventh consecutive quarter of growth.
The employment rate also increased in the United Kingdom (by 0.3 percentage point, to 73.6%), Japan (by 0.1 percentage point, to 74.2%) and Canada (by 0.1 percentage point, to 72.6%), while it fell in the United States (by 0.1 percentage point, to 69.2%) and Turkey (by 0.2 percentage point to 50.8%).
The strongest gains in employment rates were observed in Estonia (up 1.8 percentage points, to 73.0%), Hungary (up 0.8 percentage point, to 66.4%), New Zealand (up 0.8 percentage point, to 75.4%) and Slovenia (up 0.8 percentage point, to 66.0%).
Looking at the various age groups, in the second quarter of 2016, the OECD employment rate increased for older workers (aged 55-64), up by 0.3 percentage point, to 59.1%, alongside a rise in participation rate (up by 0.2 percentage point, to 62.0%). By contrast, the OECD employment rate for youth (aged 15-24) and prime-age workers (aged 25-54) was stable, at respectively 40.7% and 77.0%, after three consecutive quarters of growth.