Japan should work to increase employment opportunities for women as it’s working-age population dwindles, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reiterated.
In the Employment Outlook 2013 report released Tuesday, the OECD said the average jobless rate among its 34 member nations stood at 8.0 percent as of April, down only 0.5 percentage point from 2009’s record 8.5 percent.
The average rate is seen staying around 8.0 percent until the end of 2014, it said.
For Japan, the OECD said that 92 percent of “prime-age” men, or those between the ages of 25 and 54, have jobs — the second-highest rate among OECD members after Switzerland — while the rate of similar women with jobs stands at 69 percent, lower than the 80-percent-and-above levels in countries that include Austria, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.
“The projected fall in the working-age population and Japan’s high elderly dependency ratio call for measures to raise labor force participation,” the OECD said.
“In the context of very rapid population aging, a key priority for Japan must be to make full use of its human resources, most notably by increasing the employment rate of women,” the group added.
Pointing out that many Japanese women tend to return to jobs as nonregular workers after quitting their previous regular positions due to reasons that include childbirth, the OECD urged Japan to reduce the gap in employment protection between regular and nonregular workers.
The report said Japan’s unemployment rate is forecast to drop to 4.1 percent at the end of 2014 from an estimated 4.2 percent for the end of this year.
The jobless rate is seen falling to 7.0 percent from 7.5 percent in the United States, but is expected to rise to 12.3 percent from 12.1 percent in 15 OECD members from the European Union.
“The main policy priority must be to take action to underpin aggregate demand and boost consumer and investor confidence,” the OECD said, adding that monetary policies “have to remain accommodative.”
While noting that fiscal consolidation is required in many OECD members, the report said, “Its speed should be calibrated to country-specific circumstances so as to avoid excessive tightening.”