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Congrats, good article!

However:

rance has actually enjoyed stronger job growth than the U.K. over that period (14% vs. 11%), and fewer of those jobs were created in the public sector -- 300,000, or 15%, of the new jobs in France are government jobs, versus 860,000, or 45%, in Britain.

In that sense, the higher unemployment rate in France comes from the fact that the French working-age population during that period has increased by 12% compared to only 6% in Britain.

I'm not an economist, so you have to educate me if I'm wrong, but I feel you are undercutting your own point with this two data points here. Wouldn't relative job growth, that is relative to population or working-age population growth, be the number that really counts? Given that population growth is also market growth? The relative growth (relative to working-age population with your numbers) would be about 2% for France and 5% for Britain.

BTW, I feel this is further support for my theory that the age structure of a country does not really matter for the economy, if we combine budgets for retirement and joblessness. (I.e., the high population growth of France only means that while less money has to be taken away from workers to pay for the elderly, more has to be taken away to finance jobless benefits.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 19th, 2005 at 05:22:20 AM EST
On second thought, it would be more to the point to compare the relative job growth in the private sector only (substracting people in government jobs both from the working-age population and the working population) - however, I don't know the numbers corresponding in time (and statistical definition) to the ones quoted by Jérôme.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 19th, 2005 at 05:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's my translation (errors mine) of Denis Clerc's piece in Alternatives Economiques:

Hardly a day goes by without its elogy of the British employment model. Indeed, the British jobless rate of 4.6% (2nd quarter 2004) is enough to make the French dream. Ten years ago, in 1994, the two countries showed similar, poor performance: 12% for France, 9.7% for the UK. So France should be red-faced today.

Not so sure. Over the same ten years, the number of jobs in the UK increased by 11%. In France, by... 14%. That's because of a rise in the number of government employees, reply the free-marketers. Well, no, because the UK is clear ahead of France in this race: since 1997, 45% of newly-created jobs (861,000 out of a total of 1.92 million), are public-sector, while in France, the number of new non-private-sector jobs (including public sector plus ONGs, trade unions, religious bodies) increased by 300,000 during the same period. Doctors, teachers, policemen, nurses... These are the jobs that have been created on the other side of the Channel. <snip> Not surprising, since public services were particularly badly treated by the ultra-free-market governments of the '80s and '90s.

If job creation in France has been superior, how come the unemployment level remains stuck so high, while it keeps going down in Britain? Quite simply because of the increase in the active (working-age) population. The number of job-seekers rose by 12% in France over ten years, as against 6% in the UK. So France needs to create two jobs to Britain's one to bring the unemployment statistics down.

But to confess that a rise in working-age population might have an effect on unemployment goes against the fundamental free-market assertion: all candidates on the job market will find a job... unless prevented by government interference (minimum wage, constraints on firing, high unemployment benefits).

Denis Clerc, Alternatives Economiques, n° 235, April 2005

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 19th, 2005 at 05:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But to confess that a rise in working-age population might have an effect on unemployment goes against the fundamental free-market assertion: all candidates on the job market will find a job... unless prevented by government interference (minimum wage, constraints on firing, high unemployment benefits).

With that added, I feel Clerc makes a better point with the same data. Many thanks for the translation!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 19th, 2005 at 05:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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