Paris: Despite signs of an economic revival gathering pace around the globe, the millions of people laid off during the worst recession in 70 years are unlikely to see relief any time soon as joblessness is still climbing in many of the world’s largest economies.
Unemployment data typically lags other indicators of economic health as companies hold off adding staff in the early stages of a rebound. The upturns recorded recently in the United States, France, Germany and elsewhere have been largely driven by temporary factors such as industry restocking following spending freezes, as well as the billions spent on stimulus programs.
This week the European Union (EU) forecast unemployment in the Eurozone will rise to 10.7% in 2010 from 9.5% this year.
Unemployment rates in the 30 wealthy countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) range from a low of 3.5% in the Netherlands to 18.3% in Spain, according to September figures.
And Eurozone unemployment rose to a 10-year high of 9.7% in September.
In the developing world, the downturn has also taken its toll. Unemployment in Brazil appears now to be stabilizing, but in Mexico, after hitting a 13-year high in August, unemployment has continued to rise, reaching 6.4% in September.
In the United States, economists expect the unemployment rate will tick up to 9.9% when October’s figure is reported on Friday. The jobless rate hit a 26-year high of 9.8% in September.
Here is a look at unemployment rates around the world:
Germany: German unemployment fell for a second month in October, but the effects of the financial crisis lingered and it is still too early to expect a turnaround in the economy, the country’s labor ministry said. The unadjusted jobless rate in Europe’s biggest economy was 7.7%, down from 8% the previous month and below the 8.3% in August, the Federal Labor Agency said. The dip in unemployment comes nearly two weeks after the German government raised its growth forecast and predicted that Europe’s biggest economy will expand by 1.2% in 2010, up from an earlier prediction of 0.5%.
France: The increase in French jobless lines has been somewhat tempered by government incentives such as exempting payroll taxes for some workers. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8% in September from 7.8% in 2008, according to the OECD. It is expected to hit 10% by the end of the year.
Britain: Britain’s Office for National Statistics says unemployment in the United Kingdom was 7.9% in the three months to August. The rate held although the number of people out of work was 88,000 higher than in the previous three months, the report said. The number of jobless looks on course to pass the three million mark next year as the impact of the recession translates to rising dole queues.
Japan: Japan’s unemployment rate fell for the second straight month in September as companies gained more confidence in the stimulus-fueled global recovery but prices continued to tumble, underscoring weak demand at home. The jobless rate stood at a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in September, down from 5.5% the previous month and a record high of 5.7% in July, the government said on Friday. The figures suggest job losses in the world’s second-biggest economy are easing as companies gain more confidence that global demand for Japan’s cars, electronics and other mainstay exports is picking up. Japan’s factory output posted its seventh consecutive rise in September.
China: The official urban unemployment rate was 4.3% for the three months ended 30 September, unchanged from the previous three month period. But the actual level could be more than double that because the government system ignores millions of migrant workers and employees who are furloughed by state companies but not recorded as laid off. As of 30 September there were 9.15 million registered unemployed people in an urban workforce of 210 million. As many as 30 million migrants are believed to have lost jobs in export-oriented factories in late 2008, government officials said.
Brazil: The government says the unemployment rate was 8.1% in August, virtually unchanged from the previous month. Brazil emerged from recession in the second quarter. Analysts predict the economy will expand slightly in 2009.