More than three years after the onset of the crisis, with a sluggish recovery underway in the OECD area, many countries, notably in Europe, are still grappling with high unemployment and increasing long‐term unemployment. The magnitude of the
effect of the recession on the labour market has however been varying among OECD countries. Overall, in the OECD area, unemployment increased by 54.5% between December 2007 and January 2012, which corresponds to about 13.7 million
more unemployed persons. The three European countries greatest hit by the crisis in Europe, Ireland, Spain and Greece, have also experienced the largest increases in unemployment in the OECD together with Iceland and Estonia. Unemployment rates in Spain and
Greece have more than doubled in this period reaching 23% and 20% respectively, while those in Iceland, Estonia and Ireland at 6.7%, 11.7% and 14.8% respectively, were close to three times those in December 2007
(). Portugal, Hungary, Italy, France, Poland, the Slovak Republic had all unemployment rates above the OECD average of 8.4% in January 2012. In contrast, in Austria, Chile, Israel,The
statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international
law. Germany and Turkey, the unemployment rate had returned to its pre‐crisis level (or below that) in January 2012.