OECD warns high unemployment could last years

The U.S. and global economies are trending toward recovery, but governments nevertheless must act "fast and decisively" to prevent the recession from turning into a long-term unemployment crisis that could last years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned.

The unemployment rate of OECD countries -- basically the largest developed economies in the world -- hit a post-World War II high of 8.5 percent this summer. At the end of 2008, the OECD unemployment rate was 6.1 percent; 2007, 5.7 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate has risen to 9.7 percent, or nearly double the rate prior to the recession's start in December 2007.