U.S., Japan and Germany Labor Markets Continue to Improve

10 Apr. 2014

In February, unemployment fell in Japan, Germany and Sweden, according to unemployment rates and employment growth data compiled and standardized by The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program.

Unemployment experienced the largest increase in the Netherlands (from 7.1 to 7.3 percent), followed by the U.S. (from 6.6 to 6.7 percent), France (from 10.0 to 10.1 percent) and Italy (from 13.0 to 13.1 percent). In the Netherlands, unemployment has been on an increasing trend since July 2012. While joblessness in the U.S. increased for the first time since December 2012, it remains on a downward trend. Meanwhile, unemployment in Italy (13.1 percent) reached an historic high.

“Despite a slight increase in U.S. unemployment in February, joblessness remains on a downward trend not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan,” said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons program at The Conference Board. “Coupled with strong employment growth over the past twelve months, labor markets in these countries are rebounding, while labor markets in euro area economies—namely France, Italy, and the Netherlands—have yet to show signs of improvement.”

Declining unemployment in February was accompanied by an increase in the employment index (2007 = 100) in Japan (from 99.1 to 99.3), Germany (from 108.5 to 108.6), and Sweden (from 104.4 to 104.6). Employment also rose in the U.S. (from 99.4 to 99.5) and Australia (from 111.8 to 112.3). Except for the U.S., all countries compared that experienced rising unemployment in February also experienced declining employment levels.

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:

For the associated report, tables, and technical notes:

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. 

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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