factory workers

Unemployment ticked down in August but remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says.

The monthly unemployment rate for the OECD area edged down to 6% in August from 6.1% in July, which was the fourth-straight monthly decline, and followed an overall downward trend since the peak of 8.8% in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic’s onset (in April 2020).

However, the OECD said the decline since April 2020 “largely reflects the return of temporary laid-off workers in the United States and Canada.”

Despite the recent decline, the jobless rate remained 0.7 percentage points above its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

The number of unemployed workers across the OECD area is also still 4.3 million above the pre-pandemic mark, despite dropping by 1 million in August to 39.7 million.

In Europe the unemployment rate edged down to 7.5% in August from 7.6% in July, which is closer to its pre-pandemic rate.

The OECD said there were also notable declines in unemployment for Canada and the U.S. in August, which was followed by further reductions in September.