Skip to main content

OECD boss: U.S. can't be complacent

By CNN wire staff
May 31, 2013 -- Updated 1147 GMT (1947 HKT)
  • OCED report found a global economic recovery would be a "multi speed" process
  • Growth in advanced economies should "strengthen gradually" from the middle of this year
  • Unemployment for the 17-nation euro-area will not peak until 2014, at 12.3%

(CNN) -- There is no room for complacency on the U.S. economy. That is the message from the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In a week when the OECD predicted in its Economic Outlook that the stimulus-driven U.S. would emerge from the economic swamp sooner than austerity-ridden Europe, Gurria expressed concerns that a lack of urgency on Capitol Hill could hinder growth.

Gurria told CNN: "Frankly I don't think there is any room for complacency, even in the case of the U.S.," he said, noting the ongoing budget cuts sucking at growth.

The report found that growth in advanced economies should "strengthen gradually" from the middle of this year through to 2014.

But Gurria explained that the global economic recovery will be "multi-speed" and the U.S. is "where we see the more robust growth."

The outlook for Europe is far gloomier one. Saddled with high national debts and chronic unemployment, many countries in the eurozone will continue to suffer from the harsh austerity measures imposed by governments to tackle the crisis, according to the report.

Unemployment for the 17-nation euro-area hit another record high of 12.2% in April, with youth unemployment reaching 24.4%.

Southern European nations are the worst affected in the crisis with Greece, the first country to receive a rescue fund more than three years ago, now in its sixth year of recession.

Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland make up the rest of the eurozone countries that have undergone severe economic hardship since the outbreak of the crisis in 2010.

Gurria noted countries like Spain or Greece, where youth unemployment is above 50%, have conditions that are "more difficult."

Politicians in Europe are seeking closer fiscal ties, and the OECD used the outlook to call for bolder measures and a faster track to a full-fledged banking union.

The report found labor markets would firm in the U.S. and Japan but unemployment would continue to rise in the euro area through 2014.

The report warned: "Structural reforms are essential to prevent cyclical unemployment from becoming structural."

The OECD said U.S. annual GDP growth will be 2.8% in 2014, up from 1.9% in 2013. The euro area will contract by 0.6% in 2013 before growing by 1.1% in 2014.

In total, the OECD countries will have GDP growth of 1.2% in 2013 rising to 2.3% in 2014.

Euro area unemployment is predicted to peak at 12.3% in 2014, from 12.1% in 2013.

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.