Jobs Recovery Progresses in Advanced Economies

Unemployment Falls Sharply in U.S. and Japan, Stable In Most of Europe

Feb 13, 2014, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Labor markets improved overall across the advanced economies, according to unemployment rates and employment growth data compiled and standardized by The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program for December 2013.

The unemployment rate in December fell in three of the nine countries compared, was unchanged in four, and rose in two. The U.S. and Japan again saw the largest declines, falling 0.3 points each to 6.7 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Unemployment in Italy declined 0.1 points to 12.8 percent, after hitting a record high in November. Joblessness rose slightly in Canada and the Netherlands—by 0.1 points in both countries.     

"Unemployment rates in December were lower than rates at the start of 2013, not only in the U.S., but in Japan and the European Union as a whole," said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons program at The Conference Board. "Despite month-to-month fluctuations throughout the year, unemployment rates in most economies compared have remained relatively stable or have nudged downward over the past twelve months."

Employment in December fell in all economies compared except France, the U.S., and Germany. France saw the largest increase, rising 0.4 points to 101.8. Italy continues to have the lowest employment index (96.5), while Australia retains the highest (111.6) despite a drop of 0.3 points. Standing at 99.0 after December's 0.1 point gain, the U.S. continues to inch closer to the employment index level of 2007 (= 100) for the first time since the recession.

About Adjusted Employment Data and International Labor Comparisons (ILC)

Governments vary in the methods and definitions used to calculate labor force statistics. To facilitate comparison across countries, The Conference Board adjusts unemployment rates and employment indexes to match U.S. concepts. A monthly report compiles adjusted data for ten countries, alongside unadjusted unemployment rates from ten additional economies in Europe. All data is seasonally adjusted; employment indexes are benchmarked to January 2007 (= 100). 

The data is published as part of The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons program. Formerly a division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ILC is dedicated to producing economic indicators that optimize research, comparison, and planning in a global context.

For more information about The Conference Board ILC program:

For the associated report, tables, and technical notes, see:

About The Conference Board

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