The OECD area unemployment rate, at 8.2% in March 2011, was unchanged from February following three consecutive monthly decreases. The Euro area unemployment rate was also stable at 9.9%.
For the first time since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, unemployment rates are showing a steady or declining pattern in most OECD countries. Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden were the only countries whose unemployment rates rose in March. New data referring to April 2011 also show a rise (by 0.2 percentage point, to 9.0%) for the United States.
Countries experiencing continuously high unemployment rates include Hungary (11.9%), Ireland (14.7%), Portugal (11.1%), and the Slovak Republic (13.9%). Spain’s 20.7% unemployment rate means that, since May 2010, over one in every five people in the Spanish labour force has been unemployed and seeking work.
There were 44.4 million unemployed persons in OECD countries in March 2011, down 2.6 million from March 2010 but still 13.6 million higher than in March 2008.
Selected Unemployment Rates, s.a.
February 2011 – March 2011 (1)
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