Provisional data point to significant rise in unemployment due to the COVID-19 shock
09/04/2020 – Unemployment rose sharply in most countries where data for March 2020 are already available, although official unemployment statistics in most OECD economies still pre-date the COVID-19 shock. Figures for February 2020 showed the OECD unemployment rate falling by 0.1 percentage point, to 5.0%.
In March, in the United States, the unemployment rate (based on data for the week ending 14 March) rose by 0.9 percentage point (to 4.4%), with a sharper increase (from 7.7% to 10.3%) for youth (people aged 16 to 24).1 In the intervening weeks, the situation has deteriorated further with the number of new claimants of unemployment benefits rising to 6.6 million in the week ending 28 March; more than twenty times higher than during the week ending 14 March.
Similar complementary sources in other countries point to a similar deterioration. In Austria, the number of persons registering for work at the public employment service increase by more than two thirds in March. While in Norway, levels of registered unemployed at employment offices saw a fivefold increase.
Link to underlying data – Source: Labour Force Statistics
1. The reference week for the March Labour Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey was March 8th – March 14th.