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Country labor markets

IZA World of Labor country labor market articles lay out the important facts about specific labor markets. Articles in this series summarize the current state of specific labor markets. They cover the labor market issues common to all countries but also highlight important developments specific to each country context. Our findings span the world from Canada, to Brazil, South Africa, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Finnland, Russia, China, Japan, Australia – and beyond. 

 

  • The Danish labor market, 2000–2022 Updated

    The Danish flexicurity model has proven its resilience to large shocks, with favorable overall labor market performance

    Torben M. Andersen, April 2023
    Denmark is often highlighted as a “flexicurity” country with lax employment protection legislation, generous unemployment insurance, and active labor market policies. This model has coped with the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, avoiding large increases in long-term and structural unemployment. The recovery from Covid-19 alongside re-openings has been swift, so labor market effects were temporary. A string of recent reforms has boosted labor supply and employment; although fiscal sustainability is ensured, demographic changes challenge the labor market. Real wage growth has been positive and responded—with some lag—to unemployment.
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  • The labor market in Poland, 2000−2021 Updated

    Employment has been rising, but disadvantaged groups and low participation of older people pose challenges

    In the early 2000s, Poland's unemployment rate reached 20%. That is now a distant memory, as employment has increased noticeably and the unemployment rate had dropped to 3.4% in 2021. The labor force participation of older workers increased following reforms aimed at prolonging careers. However, participation remains low compared to most developed countries and the reversal of the statutory retirement age in 2017 leaves Poland vulnerable to the effects of population aging. Rising immigration has eased the resulting labor shortages, but women, people with disabilities, and agricultural workers remain underemployed. During the Covid-19 pandemic the slowdown in economic growth and increase in unemployment were small.
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  • The labor market in Canada, 2000–2021 Updated

    Covid-19 ended 20 years of stability and good labor market performance, aided in part by a strong resource boom

    W. Craig Riddell, November 2022
    From 2000 to 2019, Canada's economy and labor market performed well. Important in this success was a strong resource boom from the late 1990s to 2014. After the boom the economy and labor market adjusted relatively smoothly, with labor and other resources exiting resource-rich regions and moving elsewhere. Strong growth in major export markets (Asia and the US) aided the adjustment. The Covid-19 downturn resulted in an unprecedented decline in employment, and a steep rise in unemployment and non-participation. Despite the severity of the Covid-19 shock, by December 2021 most key measures of labor market activity had returned to pre-pandemic levels.
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  • The labor market in New Zealand, 2000−2021 Updated

    Employment has grown steadily, unemployment is low, and the gender gap and skill premiums have fallen

    David C. Maré, August 2022
    New Zealand is a small open economy, with large international labor flows and skilled immigrants. After the global financial crisis (GFC) employment took four years to recover, while unemployment took more than a decade to return to pre-crisis levels. Māori, Pasifika, and young workers were worst affected. The Covid-19 pandemic saw employment decline and unemployment rise but this was reversed within a few quarters. However, the long-term impact of the pandemic remains uncertain.
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  • The transformations of the French labor market, 2000–2021 Updated

    The workforce is now much better educated, but crises have magnified unemployment, underemployment, and low-income work

    Philippe Askenazy, February 2022
    France has the second largest population of countries in the EU. Since 2000, the French labor market has undergone substantial changes resulting from striking trends, some of which were catalyzed by the Great Recession and the Covid-19 crisis. The most interesting of these changes have been the massive improvement in the education of the labor force (especially of women), the resilience of employment during recessions, and the dramatic emergence of very-short-term employment contracts (less than a week) and low-income independent contractors, which together have fueled earnings inequality.
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  • The labor market in the US, 2000–2020 Updated

    Covid-19 ended the longest US economic expansion, pushing unemployment to its highest level with a slow and incomplete recovery

    Daniel S. Hamermesh, October 2021
    As the largest economy in the world, the US labor market is crucial to the economic well-being of citizens worldwide as well as, of course, that of its own citizens. Since 2000 the US labor market has undergone substantial changes, reflecting the Great Recession and the Covid Recession, but also resulting from some striking trends. Most interesting have been a remarkable drop in the labor force participation rate, reversing a nearly 50-year trend; the full recovery of unemployment after 2010 and its skyrocketing in 2020; and the little-known continuing growth in post-inflation average earnings.
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