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Unemployment - Occupations And Industries

data labor countries adjusted

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Some occupations are more susceptible to unemployment than others. In 2005 the unemployment rate for people employed in managerial and professional specialties (2.3%) was much lower than the rate for those in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (6.5%), according to the BLS in Employment and Earnings. Within each occupational grouping, significant differences can exist. In natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations, 6.5% of workers were unemployed overall, with 9.6% of those in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations experiencing unemployment in 2005 compared with only 3.9% of workers in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. In sales and office occupations, 4.8% of the workforce suffered unemployment in 2005, but those in sales occupations were more likely to be unemployed (5%) than those in office and administrative support occupations (4.6%). (See Table 3.4.)

Gender also plays a role. In 2005 women in sales occupations had an unemployment rate of 6.2%, compared with 3.9%, for men. While women and men had similar unemployment rates in managerial and professional specialty fields, more female workers in production, transportation, and material moving occupations were out of work (8.7%) than their male counterparts (5.8%). Similarly, 10.6% of women workers in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations were unemployed in 2005, compared with only 6.3% of men in that category. (See Table 3.4.)

TABLE 3.1 Unemployment rates in nine countries, 1995–2005 "Unemployment Rates in Nine Countries, Civilian Labor Force Basis, Approximating U.S. Concepts, Seasonally Adjusted, 1995–2005," in Foreign Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 4, 2005, ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/flsjec.txt (accessed January 10, 2006). Some data from the OECD and EUROSTAT.

TABLE 3.1
Unemployment rates in nine countries, 1995–2005
Period United States Canada Australia Japan France Germany Italya Swedenb United Kingdom
aLabor force survey data are published on a quarterly basis only. No adjustments are made to create estimates on a monthly basis due to a lack of alternative data series.
bThe European Union harmonized labor force survey for Sweden was introduced in April 2005. Seasonally adjusted data for the new series are not currently available.
cThere are breaks in the data series for Australia and Germany.
dRevised.
Notes: Quarterly and monthly data: Quarterly figures for Italy and Sweden and quarterly and monthly figures for Japan, France, and Germany are calculated by applying annual adjustment factors to current published data and therefore should be viewed as less precise indicators of unemployment under U.S. concepts than the annual figures.
Note on adjustments: The foreign country data are adjusted as closely as possible to U.S. concepts. Although the U.S. lower age limit is 16 years, the age limit for other countries varies from 15 to 16 years. No adjustment is made for the treatment of layoffs. For some countries, no adjustment is made for the treatment of unpaid family workers, persons waiting to start a new job, and passive job seekers (for example, persons only reading newspaper ads as their method of job search). In the United States, job search must be "active," such as placing or answering advertisements, and simply reading ads is not enough to qualify as active search. Except for the inclusion of passive job seekers in Canada (for which an adjustment is made), these "unadjusted" differences are believed to have a negligible effect on the comparisons.
Australia: The 2001 break reflects the introduction of a new questionnaire and a minor change in the definition of unemployed persons. The impact of the change was an increase in the adjusted unemployment rate by 0.1 percentage point beginning with April 2001.
Germany: The 1999 break reflects the incorporation of an improved method of data calculation and a change in coverage to persons living in private households only. In 1999, the impact of the change was a decrease in the adjusted unemployment rate by 0.1 percentage point from 8.6 to 8.5 percent.
Data used to calculate these unemployment rates come mainly from national statistical sources but also from the OECD and EUROSTAT.
SOURCE: "Unemployment Rates in Nine Countries, Civilian Labor Force Basis, Approximating U.S. Concepts, Seasonally Adjusted, 1995–2005," in Foreign Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 4, 2005, ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/flsjec.txt (accessed January 10, 2006). Some data from the OECD and EUROSTAT.
1995 5.6 8.6d 8.2 3.2 11.3  8.2 11.3 9.1 8.7
1996 5.4 8.8d 8.2 3.4 11.8  9.0 11.3 9.9 8.1
1997 4.9 8.4 8.3 3.4 11.7  9.9 11.4 10.1 7.0
1998 4.5 7.7 7.7 4.1 11.2  9.3 11.5 8.4 6.3
1999 4.2 7.0 6.9 4.7 10.5  8.5c 11.0 7.1 6.0
2000 4.0 6.1 6.3 4.8 9.1  7.8 10.2 5.8 5.5
2001 4.7 6.5 6.8c 5.1 8.4  7.9 9.2 5.0 5.1
2002 5.8 7.0 6.4 5.4 9.0  8.6 8.7 5.1 5.2
2003 6.0 6.9 6.1 5.3 9.6  9.3 8.5 5.8 5.0
   I 5.9d 6.7 6.2 5.4 9.3  9.0 8.7 5.3 5.1
   II 6.1 6.9 6.2 5.5 9.5  9.2 8.5 5.5 5.0
   III 6.1 7.0d 6.0 5.2 9.7  9.3 8.5 5.8 5.0
   IV 5.8d 6.8 5.8 5.1 9.8  9.6 8.3 6.3 4.9
2004 5.5 6.4 5.5 4.8 9.8  9.9 8.1 6.6 4.8
   I 5.7d 6.6 5.7 4.9 9.8  9.7 8.3 6.7 4.8
   II 5.6 6.5 5.6 4.7 9.8  9.8 8.1 6.8 4.8
   III 5.5 6.3d 5.6 4.8 9.8 10.0 8.0 6.6 4.7
   IV 5.4 6.4d 5.2 4.6 9.8 10.0 8.0 6.4 4.7
2005 5.1 6.0 5.1
   I 5.2d 6.2 5.1 4.6 9.9 10.0 7.9 6.3 4.7
   II 5.1 6.0 5.1 4.4 9.9  9.9 7.8 4.7
   III 5.0 6.0 5.0 4.4 9.7  9.4 7.8 4.8
   IV 5.0 5.8 5.1
   July 5.0 6.1 5.0 4.5 9.7  9.6 4.7
   August 4.9 5.9d 5.0 4.4 9.7 10.1 4.8
   September 5.1 6.0 5.1 4.3 9.6  8.7 4.9
   October 4.9d 5.9 5.2 4.5 9.5  9.3 5.1
   November 5.0 5.7 5.1 4.6 9.4  9.5
   December 4.9 5.8 5.1

According to the BLS in Employment and Earnings, those working in management, administrative, and waste services occupations were the most likely of all nonagricultural private wage and salary workers to find themselves without jobs in 2005 (11.3%). Those working in mining (1.5%) and health care and social assistance (1.8%) occupations were among the least likely to be unemployed. (See Table 3.5.)

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