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October 1993, Vol. 116, No. 10
Employment change and sectoral distribution in 10 countries, 1970-90
Todd M. Godbout
An analysis of employment growth from 1970 to 1990 in 10 industrial countries - Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States - shows that the United States led the pack, with 39 million jobs added to the U.S. economy over the period. Strong employment growth also occurred in Canada and Australia. Following in order were Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden, each with moderate job growth, but still well below the performances of the two North American countries and Australia. In contrast, employment growth in the remaining countries studied was very limited.
All of the countries that were studied experienced a major shift in the distribution of employment, from agriculture and industry (mining, manufacturing, and construction) into services. As of 1990, the service sector accounted for nearly 60 percent to more than 70 percent of total civilian employment across the 10 countries.
In addition to the employment growth itself, the article examines the sources of the growth and the changing sectoral distribution of employment in these countries from 1970 to 1990. The composition of the rapidly growing service-sector industries is examined, as are international employment trends by gender and by part-time and full-time status.
The analysis ends with 1990 in order to exclude most of the employment effects of the cyclical downturns that all 10 countries experienced in the early 1990's. Both gross domestic product and employment fell in 1991 in the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. While the downturns began in 1990, employment rose on an annual basis in all five economies, and only Canada had a decline in output. In the other European countries and Japan, 1990-91 was a period of rising output and employment, although growth began to slacken by 1991.
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 1993 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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