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Society at a Glance

OECD (2014) “Society at a Glance: the Crisis and its Aftermath“, OECD Social Indicators, OECD Publishing.


The year 2014 is starting, with the perspective of a more widespread and sustainable recovery from the Great Recession. True, risks remain, and the pace of progress still varies widely: in the Eurozone, for instance, a number of economies remain in a fragile state. Nevertheless, the prospects for both the world economy and the OECD area look brighter than they have for some time.

Encouraging as it may be, it risks seducing us into believing that all is now going well and that, over the next few years, a rising economy will lift all boats. The evidence of the recent past, dating even to before the financial crisis, suggests otherwise. As shown by a series of ORCD reports, most notably Divided We Stand (2011) and Growing Unequal? (2008), in recent decades the fruits of economic success have been enjoyed less widely than before.

The crisis of the past years has added to these long-term trends. Many of those who benefited least from growth before the crisis also bore a heavy burden in the recession. And today, while hope for national economies is growing, the economic prospects for far too many of our fellow citizens remain under the cloud of the recent turmoil.

These problems are manifest today in the form of lingering unemployment and flat if not declining incomes for many households. As this edition of Society at a Glance shows, employment rates were falling until recently, with young and low-skilled workers particularly hard hit. Since 2007, the number of unemployed people in OECD countries increased by one-third to reach 48 million and more than one-third of them have been out of work for more than one year.


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