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International Comparisons of Annual Labor Force Statistics, 2013

28 August 2014

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                                                              In This Report

Labor markets at a glance: 2013
Unemployment rate charts

Labor force participation rate charts
Women in the workforce charts
Adjusting labor force indicators to US concepts

Report summary

In the aftermath of the 2008/09 global financial and economic crisis, labor markets around the world are characterized by differing paths toward recovery. In the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan, labor markets have been characterized by rapidly falling unemployment rates. In most other European economies, unemployment rates are still elevated or even increasing. Also participation rates, which refer to the percentage of persons between 15 and 64 years old who are in a job or are looking for one, are still increasing in most countries. The United States is the major exception due to massive baby boomer retirements and discouraged job seekers leaving the workforce.

Overall labor market tightness is still limited in most economies but may become a threat once unemployment rates drop further or participation rates fall. The risk of labor market tightness is exacerbated by prolonged unemployment and declining participation rates of youth aged 15 to 24. Without opportunities for work experience, youth today may lack the skills to fill future jobs. On the other hand, participation rates of women and older workers (ages 50 to 64 and 65 and over) continue to climb in most countries compared, particularly as those aged 50 to 64 increasingly delay retirement, and the oldest cohort of workers aged 65 and over returns to the labor force. Women and older workers will thus be key pools of potential job candidates in the coming years.

For more information, see What defines a tight labor market?

For additional insights and analysis, download the complimentary full report.


Labor markets at a glance: 2013

Chart 1

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Chart 2

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Adjusting labor force indicators to US concepts

The qualifications for persons to be counted as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force may differ across countries. Some types of workers that are categorized differently across countries include new entrants to the workforce, persons on layoff or waiting to start a new job, students, persons in the armed forces, and unpaid family workers.
To more accurately compare across countries, these definitional differences must be taken into account. Thus, The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program adjusts country data to a common framework: the concepts used by the US Current Population Survey. The chart below illustrates the impact of the adjustment to US concepts. For example, the unadjusted German unemployment rate for 2013 is 6.9 percent, whereas the adjusted ILC figure is 5.3 percent. The direction and magnitude of the ILC adjustment varies by country.
For complete definitions, methodology, and specific adjustments made for each country, see the Technical Notes and Country Notes associated with this report.


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Annual Labor Force Statistics - Download Related Products

International Comparisons of Annual Labor Force Statistics, 2013

Full Report

Data Tables

Technical Notes

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