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Labor Markets Improve Across Most Advanced Economies

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SOURCE The Conference Board

Employment Indexes on the Rise, with Unemployment Rates Stable or Falling

NEW YORK, July 10, 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 May 2014.

Unemployment rates in May fell in four of the nine countries compared, and were unchanged in the remaining five. Sweden saw the greatest improvement, with joblessness falling 0.3 points to 7.7 percent. Unemployment fell 0.2 points in the Netherlands (to 7.0 percent) and 0.1 points each in Japan (to 3.1 percent) and Germany (to 5.1 percent). 

"In May, despite a continued high unemployment rate for the European Union as a whole, employment picked up in several European economies, including France, Italy, and the Netherlands," said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons program at The Conference Board. "Yet Germany's slight dip in employment, the first in over two years, underscores the continued fragility of Europe's labor market recovery going forward."

Employment in May increased in all economies compared except Germany and Australia. Japan and Sweden saw the largest increases, rising 0.5 points to 99.6 and 105.5, respectively. Despite an improvement of 0.3 points, Italy continues to have the lowest employment index (96.9), while Australia retains the highest (112.6) despite May's 0.1-point decline. With a gain of 0.1 points to 99.9, the U.S. inched even closer to reaching the employment index level of 2007 (= 100) for the first time since the recession.

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:
www.conference-board.org/ilcprogram

For the associated report, tables, and technical notes, see:
www.conference-board.org/ilcprogram/laborforcemonthly

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is an independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.  www.conference-board.org.

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