The unemployment rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area fell to 5.1 percent in March 2022, from 5.2 percent in February and is now below the pre-pandemic rate of 5.3 percent recorded in February 2020, the latest data from the organisation showed.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant effect on labour markets globally as lockdowns and economic strains led to jobs being shed across the board, particularly in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

The OECD data showed that the unemployment rate was below the pre-pandemic rate in two-thirds of member countries in March, compared with just half of them in February.

Moreover, the number of unemployed workers in the OECD continued to fall, reaching 34.6 million, 0.9 million below the pre-pandemic level.

The data showed that the March decline in the OECD unemployment rate was recorded for both women and men, as well as for all age groups.

In the Euro area, the unemployment rate decreased further to 6.8 percent in March from 6.9 percent in February, with the largest declines recorded in Austria, Italy and Latvia. By contrast, the largest increase was observed in Ireland and slight increases were also recorded in Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Outside the Euro area, the unemployment rate fell markedly in Mexico, and more modestly in Canada, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Israel, Japan and the United States.

However, unemployment increased in Turkey and more slightly in Colombia and Denmark.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Daniel Luiz)