Labor Markets Improve Across Advanced Economies

Australia, Italy, and Germany Lead a Month of Robust Recovery

May 08, 2014, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, May 8, 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 March 2014.

The unemployment rate in March fell in three of the nine countries compared, was unchanged in five, and rose in just one — Japan. Australia saw the largest decline, falling 0.3 points to 5.8 percent. Germany and Italy both saw 0.1-point declines, to 5.1 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively. Italy's unemployment rate remains the highest among countries compared; at 10.1 percent, unemployment in France also remains near record highs last seen in the mid-1990s.      

"In March, labor markets in the U.S., Canada, and Europe improved as steady or falling unemployment rates were coupled with gains in employment," said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons program at The Conference Board. "Although Japan saw joblessness edge upward in March, the country's unemployment rate remains the lowest (3.2 percent) of the economies compared. As employment nears pre-recession levels, labor market recovery in Japan is likely to continue in the coming months."

Employment in March rose in all economies compared except the Netherlands. Gains were sharpest in the United States, Italy, and Sweden; each saw its employment index improve 0.3 points over February. At 99.8, the U.S. now stands closer to the employment level of 2007 (=100) than it has at any time since the recession. Japan also inched closer to that benchmark, rising 0.2 points in March to 99.5. Italy continues to have the lowest employment index (96.8), while Australia retains the highest (112.5), followed by Germany (108.5) and Canada (107.5).  

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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