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Recent Highs Remain Intact

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The OECD employment rate edged up 1.9% to 66.7% in Q3 2020, but remains 2.5% below its pre-pandemic level. The rate dropped 4.4% in Q2 due to Covid-19 containment measures. While most countries recorded a quarterly gain in employment, the rate in Japan was stable at 77.1% and it fell in the UK to 74.2%. The employment rate in the euro area rose 0.5ppt to 66.8%, but remains 1.3% below the pre-crisis level. Only Austria, Ireland and Spain recorded an increase of more than 1.0ppt.

Increases in the employment rate in Q3 were registered in the US and Canada where employment rose by 4.0ppt to 66.4% and 5.7ppt to 70.4%, respectively. However, the report noted that "some care is needed in interpreting the latest developments, as a large part of the increase in the third quarter reflects the return to work of furloughed workers in Canada and the United States, where they are recorded as unemployed, whereas they are recorded as employed in most other countries."