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OECD Employment Outlook June 2001 (Complete Edition - ISBN 9264186891)

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Abstract:



This edition of the OECD Employment Outlook provides in-depth analyses of a number of crucial policy issues: spending on labour market policies, poverty dynamics, the characteristics and quality of service sector jobs, the work-family balance, and foreign workers.SPENDING ON LABOUR MARKET POLICIES: Since the mid-1980s, OECD countries have devoted high levels of expenditure to the labour market, both through "passive" spending (unemployment benefits and early retirement schemes) and "active" programmes designed to help people into work. In 1992, governments agreed to put more emphasis on "active" measures. Analysis of the OECD database shows a small increase in the proportion of "active" spending, in most, but not all, countries. POVERTY DYNAMICS: Poverty is fluid yet characterised by long-term traps. The relationship between employment status and poverty dynamics is in line with the general thrust of employment-centred social policy, but the strong frequency of poverty among working families shows the need for policies that go beyond job placement, by enhancing job retention and movement up job ladders.CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALITY OF SERVICE SECTOR JOBS: The rising share of employment in services and other developments have led to a vigorous debate about the quality of service sector jobs. The evidence shows that there is no simple dichotomy between goods- and service-producing sectors. Service sector jobs cover the spectrum of job quality. More striking is the large variation in job quality across countries. Institutional factors such as the degree of unionisation, statutory wage floors and the distribution of skills within countries are behind this variation.THE WORK-FAMILY BALANCE: Combining work and family life is difficult for many parents. Mothers continue to bear the major share of child-care and unpaid work in the home, and often need support if they are to be able to have productive and satisfying labour market careers. Recent years have seen an increase in the provision of formal child-care for very young children, as well as maternity, paternity and parental leave policies - though men still seem reluctant to take up their entitlements. FOREIGN WORKERS: Over the past ten years, foreigners have accounted for an increasing proportion of the labour force in almost all OECD countries. They are also employed in a wider range of sectors than in the past. However, foreign workers still tend to be more vulnerable to unemployment than nationals. The upturn in economic growth observed over the course of the last decade in the majority of OECD countries has contributed to widening the debate on immigration, the essential focus of which is the control of flows and the contribution that immigration might play in reducing labour shortages and moderating the effects of population ageing.

Page Count: 242 Figure Count: 114 Table Count: 79

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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