Unemployment remains steady

The OECD-area unemployment rate on a standardised basis was 6.3% in April, 0.1 percentage points higher than March and level as February and 0.1 percentage points lower than a year earlier.

The unemployment rate rose in four countries: to 4.5% in the United States, to 4.8% in Japan, to 6.8% in Australia and to 2.4% in Luxembourg.

The unemployment rate fell in several countries: to 9.1% in Finland, to 8.5% in France, to 4% in Portugal, to 13.1% in Spain and to 4.9% in Sweden. The unemployment rate remained stable at 3.7% in Austria, at 6.8% in Belgium, at 7.7% in Germany and at 3.8% in Ireland.


1. The standardised unemployment rates for the European Union (EU) Member countries are from the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat). In September 2000, Eurostat adopted a new unemployment definition through a Commission Regulation. Details about the new definition are available on Eurostat internet site (http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/Public/datashop/print-product/EN?catalogue=Eurostat&product=3-03042001-EN-AP-EN&mode=download).

The OECD is responsible for the calculation of the standardised unemployment rates for the non-EU countries. The latter have been adjusted when necessary, and as far as the available data allow, to bring them as close as possible to ILO (and Eurostat) guidelines for international comparisons of labour force statistics. The standardised rates are, therefore, more comparable between countries than the unemployment rates published in national sources. For further details, see the Technical Note to the table.

2. The overall result is based on a sample of 25 OECD countries for which data are available or have been estimated.

©OECD Observer June 2001 

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