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International unemployment rates, July 2012

October 03, 2012

In July 2012, among countries covered by the BLS international comparisons program, Italy (10.8 percent) and France (10.0 percent) had the highest unemployment rates. Japan had the lowest unemployment rate (3.9 percent). Concepts and definitions of unemployment in labor force surveys may differ from country to country, and BLS adjusts the estimates from some countries to make them more comparable with U.S. concepts and definitions.

Unemployment rates adjusted to U.S. concepts, selected countries, seasonally adjusted, January 2007–July 2012
MonthItalyFranceUnited StatesSwedenCanadaGermanyNetherlandsAustraliaJapan

Jan 2007

Feb 2007

Mar 2007

Apr 2007

May 2007

Jun 2007

Jul 2007

Aug 2007

Sep 2007

Oct 2007

Nov 2007

Dec 2007

Jan 2008

Feb 2008

Mar 2008

Apr 2008

May 2008

Jun 2008

Jul 2008

Aug 2008

Sep 2008

Oct 2008

Nov 2008

Dec 2008

Jan 2009

Feb 2009

Mar 2009

Apr 2009

May 2009

Jun 2009

Jul 2009

Aug 2009

Sep 2009

Oct 2009


Nov 2009

Dec 2009

Jan 2010

Feb 2010

Mar 2010

Apr 2010

May 2010

Jun 2010

Jul 2010

Aug 2010

Sep 2010

Oct 2010

Nov 2010

Dec 2010

Jan 2011

Feb 2011

Mar 2011

Apr 2011

May 2011

Jun 2011

Jul 2011

Aug 2011

Sep 2011

Oct 2011

Nov 2011

Dec 2011

Jan 2012

Feb 2012

Mar 2012

Apr 2012

May 2012

Jun 2012

Jul 2012


(1) Japan data from March 2011 through August 2011 are based on reference estimates from the Statistics Bureau of Japan that include areas affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake.

Click legend items to change data display.

[Chart data]

From July 2011 to July 2012, among those countries covered in the BLS comparisons, the United States experienced the largest decrease in its unemployment rate (−0.8 percentage point), followed by Japan (−0.4 percentage point). Italy recorded the largest increase in its unemployment rate (+2.5 percentage points), followed by the Netherlands (+0.9 percentage point) and France (+0.7 percentage point). Canada, Sweden, Australia and Germany experienced little or no change in their unemployment rates over the year.

In July 2012, among those countries in the European Union (EU) whose unemployment rates are not adjusted to U.S. concepts by BLS, Spain had the highest unemployment rate (25.1 percent), followed by Portugal (15.7 percent) and Ireland (14.9 percent). Austria recorded the lowest unemployment rate (4.5 percent).

These data are from the International Labor Comparisons program. To learn more, see "International Unemployment rates and Employment Indexes, Seasonally Adjusted, 2008–2012" (HTML) (PDF) (XLS). For further information on comparability issues, see "International unemployment rates: how comparable are they?," by Constance Sorrentino, in the June 2000 issue of the Monthly Labor Review.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, International unemployment rates, July 2012 on the Internet at (visited September 23, 2014).


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