OECD countries: Real wages are broadly lower than before the Covid pandemic

Real wages are “increasing” in most countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, they remain “below their 2019 level in just under half” of them, it notes in a study published Tuesday.

Real wages, which roughly correspond to the notion of purchasing power, are “now increasing in most OECD countries, generally thanks to the decline in inflation,” notes the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in its “Employment Outlook 2024.” “However, they are still below their 2019 level in just under half of the countries,” the organization continues.

In France, salaries are relatively stable

Thus, in the first quarter of 2024, “annual real wage growth was positive in 29 of the 35 countries for which data are available,” according to the study. But in 16 of them, wages remain below their level in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the Covid pandemic.

 

“As real wages recover some of the lost ground, profits are starting to absorb rising labour costs,” the OECD notes. “However, in many countries, profits would be able to absorb further wage increases, especially since there is no evidence of a wage-price spiral,” it points out.

 

While according to INSEE, household consumption is still lower than in the pre-Covid period in France, real wages have remained “relatively stable” between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2024, according to the OECD. But they have decreased, for example, in Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy, notes the OECD.

โ€œUnemployment at its lowestโ€

The organization estimates that “disinflation will support purchasing power.” Headline inflation “is expected to decline to 2.3% in 2024 and 2% in 2025,” writes the OECD, which estimates that “employment growth is expected to slow and unemployment to increase slightly to 7.8% by the end of 2025.

In May 2024, unemployment was at its lowest, according to the organization, with an average rate of 4.9%, according to data published this Tuesday.

Spain nevertheless records a rate of job seekers of 11.7%, Greece 10.6%. France completes this top three with 7.4% of unemployed. Among the good students, the United States (4.1%), Germany (3.3%) and Japan (2.8%).

By Editor

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