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March 30, 2005

Scary Statistic

Last Monday, Sweden's largest trade union admitted that the official 5.5 per cent unemployment rate is hiding a "real unemployment" of 20 to 25 per cent, which includes those claiming long-term sick pay or having taken early state retirement. The Blair Government affects to be appalled by such devices. In fact, it is adopting the same agenda.

Fraser Nelson

March 30, 2005 in Economics | Permalink


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That's not a very edifying statistic without international comparators: what's the corresponding figure in the US or the Czech Republic?

Very back-of-the-envelope-ish-ly (based on population data from the US Census Bureau and employed population stats from the ILO), I make the employment rate for 20-to-65-year-olds about 80% (ie unemployment including non-participation of 20%), both in the US and the UK.

My method overstates employment in both countries, because of under-20s and over-65s who work. Nonetheless, it's good evidence against the hypothesis that there's a significant difference in labour-force-non-participation between the two countries.

Posted by: john b | Mar 30, 2005 11:27:21 AM