The above graphic tracks OECD labor force growth data per selected countries, when averaged from 2012-2017. While the overall trend is positive, there are some laggards, and some that are stagnating. The overall labor force is defined as the total population that is either employed, or unemployed and seeking employment.
The Iberian peninsula continues to struggle to recover to pre-recession workforce levels. Youth participation in the workforce remains low, as young adults stay in school while there are limited work opportunities.
The United States has seen a large volume of labor force growth based on the sheer numbers of people in the labor force. The US has rebounded well after the economic crash as more people, women and students, return to the workforce, and longer participation of older workers – owing to improved health and longevity, and changes to social security rules.
The UK had seen a relatively positive upward trend until 2017, with the specter of Brexit having a massive impact on the economy, jobs, and net migration into the country.
Canada’s steady growth can be at least partially attributed to its more liberal immigration policies, which it is promoting heavily to international workers and companies looking to hire talent from abroad.
Europe’s economic star, Ireland, continues to see an upward trend in this segment. While returning emigres are a factor, you cannot discount the fact that Ireland has the youngest population in the EU, the highest birth rate, and the lowest death rate, giving it one of the fastest natural population growth rates in the Union.
At #2 is Iceland, with a staggering 2.2% growth! However, please note that to attain this level of growth, Iceland added 21,000 workers to the labor force… #1, Turkey, for reference, added over 4.5 million people to its labor force during the same period. Turkey has a young, growing population, and has been investing heavily in education, leading to a burgeoning labor force that has been achieving above average OECD labor productivity growth.
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