HC Deb 04 April 1979 vol 965 cc937-40W
Mr. Michael Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the unemployment rate, adjusted for comparison to United States concepts, for the latest available common quarter in each country of the EEC, the United States of America, Canada and Japan.

Mr. Golding

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics does not calculate adjusted unemployment rates for every member country of the European Community. The available rates for the fourth quarter of 1978 are given below. Rates for the European countries should be viewed as only approximatae indicators of unemployment. The rate for Italy is under review.

United States 5.8
Canada 8.2
Japan 2.3
France 5.6

average for all full-time manual men and in receipt of child benefit (b), the information is as follows:

Germany 34
Italy* 3.6
Great Britain† 5.9
* Quarterly rates are for the first month in each quarter
† No rate is calculated for the United Kingdom.

Mr. Buck

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the net percentage change in employment in the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States of America and Japan between (a) 1974 (Q2) and the latest quarter for which figures are available and (b) between September 1974 and September 1978.

Mr. Golding

The available data are shown in the following table. Seasonally adjusted figures have been used where possible, since seasonal variations in some countries are large and would distort the comparisons if not taken into account. Owing to differences in national definitions and methods of compilation, the figures are not fully comparable.

Percentage changes to the third quarter 1978 from
(a) the second quarter of 1974 (b) the third quarter of 1974
United Kingdom* -0.1 -0.7
France ¨ ¨
West Germany† -5.2 -4.4
Italy‡ 8.9 7.2
Canada 11.0 9.9
United States 10.0 9.9
Japan§ 2.8 3.4
* Provisional figures.
† Change up to second quarter 1978.
‡ Not seasonally adjusted.
§Including armed forces.
¨ Not available.


OECD labour force statistics, quarterly supplements.

Department of Employment Gazette.

Mr. Cryer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the current United Kingdom percentage unemployment figure and that of the United States of America, France, Belgium, West Germany, Holland, Denmark and Canada.

Mr. Golding

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates using national definitions, which are not comparable owing to differences in concept, coverage and method of compilation, for the latest available dates are:

Percentage Rate
United Kingdom*—March 1979 5.7
United States†—February 1979 5.7
France*—February 1979 6.8
Belgium‡—February 1979 10.7║
West Germany*—February 1979 4.1║
Netherlands*—February 1979 4.9║
Denmark§—January 1979 6.9
Canada†—January 1979 8.1
* Numbers registered at employment offices expressed as a percentage of total employees.
† Labour force sample survey. Rates are calculated as percentages of total labour force.
‡ Insured unemployed. Rate is calculated as percentage of total insured population.
§ Number registered at employment offices expressed as percentage of total labour force.
║ The seasonally adjusted rate has been estimated using the unadjusted figures and the 1978 factor from Main Economic Indicators.

Source: OECD Main Economic Indicators, supplemented by labour attaché reports, except United Kingdom.

Mr. Grocott

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current level of unemployment; and how this compares with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

Mr. Golding

Unemployment rates adjusted to international definitions are available for 12 of the 24 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. The latest figures, for the third quarter of 1978, are given below. Although the figures are designed to be comparable, they should be regarded as only approximate indicators of unemployment.

Percentage rates
United States 5.9
Japan 2.5
West Germany 3.7
France 5.8
United Kingdom 6.8
Canada 8.4
Italy 7.4
Australia 6.4
Finland 7.8
Norway 2.1
Spain† 7.6
Sweden 2.6
† The figure for Spain covers two months only.

Source: OECD "Economic Outlook December 1978 page 13