I thought it was time for an updated look at employment creation in the advanced economies given that we are now at just over five years since the 2008-09 Great Recession that walloped world economies. I’ve taken the IMF World Economic Outlook Database employment numbers for the period 2007 to 2013 to get employment levels and calculate some growth rates. Two interesting results in my view are first, the resilience of the U.S. economy over the longer-term and second the high overall performance of the Australian economy.
Despite the severe blow in 2009, the U.S. employment growth rate over the entire period 2009 to 2013 is the second highest in the G-7. And if Australia was a member of the G-7, it would be Australia rather than Canada making the case for the best performance in the G-7.
I have three figures. Note that the employment numbers for 2013 are still estimates provided by the IMF rather than a final official tally. Figure 1 ranks and then plots the percentage growth in employment from 2009 to 2013. Canada (in dark blue) ranks eighth in this overall employment performance ranking, but is ahead of all the other G-7 countries (in red). Australia substantially outperforms Canada during this period during this period with employment growth of 9 percent to Canada’s 6.5 percent. Its not that Canada was doing anything wrong - given its trade dependence on the U.S. market and the steepness of the U.S. drop, Canada did do remarkably well. What is also interesting is that the United States ranks sixteenth but ahead of the remaining G-7 countries – even Germany. After being one of the harder hit countries, the United States has rebounded quite well.
Figure 2 shows the extent of the rebound in employment growth performance by comparing employment growth in 2009 with employment growth in 2013 with the countries ranked in order of their employment growth rate in 2009. In 2009, the United States saw one of the steepest drops in employment and its employment growth rate ranked thirtieth out of the 34 advanced IMF economies. In 2013, the United States ranked tenth out of 34 advanced economies in terms of employment growth while Canada ranked seventh. Australia, in the meantime had moved up to third place in 2013 – it was fourth in 2009.
Figure 3 presents the annual employment growth performance for the G-7 and Australia. Along with Germany, Australia did not see an employment decline in 2009. Since 2008 Australia has seen a pretty exceptional employment growth performance.