The OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age in employment – increased for the fourteenth straight quarter, to 67.0%, in the third quarter of 2016, up 0.1 percentage point on the previous quarter. In the same period, the OECD labour force participation rate (i.e. the share of people of working-age who are either employed or unemployed) increased, by 0.2 percentage point, to 71.7%.
The rise in employment rates was widespread across OECD countries. In the euro area, the employment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point (to 65.5%), continuing its upward trend since the fourth quarter of 2013. The employment rate also increased in Japan (by 0.4 percentage point, to 74.5%), Mexico (by 0.4 percentage point, to 61.3%) and the United States (by 0.1 percentage point, to 69.3%). On the other hand, the employment rate fell in the United Kingdom (by 0.1 percentage point, to 73.5%, after five consecutive quarters of increase), Canada (by 0.2 percentage point, to 72.4%) and Turkey (by 0.4 percentage point to 50.4%). The strongest gains in employment rates were observed in Portugal (up 0.7 percentage point, to 65.6%), Ireland (up 0.5 percentage point, to 65.1%) and Spain (up 0.5 percentage point, to 59.8%).
The overall increase in the employment rate for the OECD area was mainly driven by the employment rate for women, which increased by 0.3 percentage point (to 59.4%), while that for men was stable (at 74.7%). Among larger economies, gains in employment rates for women significantly outpaced those of men in Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.