Though unemployment in Europe has remained high, many countries around the world are close to full employment
Thailand, 0.62 percent
Unemployment in Thailand is extremely low, and has been steadily decreasing from a high of 5.73 percent in 2001 to the current rate. There are several reasons why the official rate is so low, including the very real possibility that large swathes of the population are ‘underemployed’ or informally employed. In fact, figures from the Bank of Thailand suggest that working hours in the country are extremely low, with many people working fewer than 20 hours a week.
Singapore, 1.8 percent
Over the course of 2013, unemployment rates in Singapore dropped significantly, from 2.1 percent to just 1.8 percent. Foreign workers have always made up a large proportion of the Singapore labour market, though that is changing slowly. According to the Ministry of Manpower, total employment rates are continuing to grow, even as foreign employment rates decreased.
Hong Kong, 3.2 percent
Though unemployment rates have remained relatively low in Hong Kong over the years, with an average of 3.41 percent between 1981 and 2013, rates peaked at over 8.6 percent in 2003. Hong Kong also has unusually high youth unemployment rates, with a growing number of 15 to 24 year olds claiming Social Security Allowance, despite 83.200 jobs being created in 2013.
Norway, 3.3 percent
Unemployment rates in Norway have remained fairly steady over the years, averaging at 3.44 percent between 1997 and 2013. Norway currently boasts the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, a long-time goal for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Norway is the biggest oil producer in Europe and therefore managed to avoid the worst of the fallout from the economic downturn, however, unemployment has been raising steadily from the all time low of 2.3 percent in 2008.
Malaysia, 3.4 percent
Though Malaysia’s unemployment rate increased slightly at the end of 2013, the country still makes the top five. Historically, Malaysia has always had relatively low unemployment rates, which have never peaked beyond 4.5 percent. According to the Malaysian Statistics Department, there scent 0.1 percent increase was due to the increasing number of people joining the labour market.