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Graphic statistics

by Alexandra in WMass Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 11:04:40 PM EST

Tired of bar graphs that mislead by using different scales? Want to add some color to your life?
What about a little more on european employment statistics  and demographics to follow up on earlier diaries?

Ok here we go, take a look below the fold for my most recent favorite, beyond the blue & red divisions, way to present youth employment statistics....


I used INSEE data (French statistics institute) to put together this graph and table. I looked for equivalent data for Britain but to no avail. It seems they don't have their census data available online or I'm too tired to figure out how to maneuver their site.

I love population pyramid so maybe I'm just biased but I think this one of the best way to present lots of data in a clear manner. There are many other interesting versions of this pyramid that you can create if you have access to the raw census data. For example you can look at the same data but by family income level comparing individuals in the highest and the lowest income quintiles.

So what does this add to the earlier discussion of youth unemployment rates? Well we'd really need the data for other countries to say more. However, it does show that many in the 15-24 age group in are in school. It also shows the difference in the 15-19 & the 20-24 age groups. The younger youth mask the higher unemployment rate of older youth if you combine them.

What do you think? What are your favorite ways of presenting complex statistics in a simple manner?

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I think I'd like to know the unemployment rate for 30-35 age group before I pronounce on youth unemployment. Once you get past school age it seems pretty similar from 20 -35.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:41:47 AM EST
Metatone here is the link to the INSEE percentage table by age group. They first have men then women followed by the total. The age group above 30 is 30-49 (they don't have small age group breakdrowns) with:
79.0% employed
9.6% unemployed
0.0% military
0.4% retired
0.2% student
10.8% other not in the labor market
100,0% total

I worked from the population total by individual age to create the table & graph and since after 30 your not really youth anymore I left that data out.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 09:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"after 30 your not really youth anymore" ???

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:17:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention after 35... </snark>

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry about that. I already stretched it from the official 25 of the tables you presented earlier. But maybe if you're an ET member you are always a youth. After all isn't the real meaning of ET that brown creature with the glowing finger who is always wanting to "go home"?
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's with the high female "Other out of the labour market"? Is that just another way of saying "Babies"?
by Nomad on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 07:17:29 AM EST
Not every woman who gets married or has children leaves the labour market, but essentially yes...

Except that about 4% of men are "out of the labour market". You could assume that a similar fraction of women are out of the labour market for the same reasons as the men.

The other salient feature of the diagrams is that men join the labour market earlier and, although a larger fraction of women stay in education longer, they have higher unemployment rates.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 07:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the "out of the market" can also encompass people with disabilities, for example, as well as some volunteer types.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:10:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...is the most dangerous job in the household, but I don't think that between men and women a significant difference would exist for disabilities. Or is the gut completely wrong on this one?

But with the volunteering, I think you're full on target.

by Nomad on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent. This is fun.  Have a four!

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The disability numbers are significant in a number of countries to reduce the unemployment statistics, by excluding people from the active (and unemployed) count(s). The impact on the numerator is bigger than on the denominator, thus a lower unemployment rate.

The Netherlands and the UK come to mind.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that you mention it, I recall from my past unemployment that you could be disabled and still unemployed in France (you were asked if you had a disability, I guess this was to help measure the amount of compensation you should receive).
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, there's a law in France that requires employers to take on people who are disabled but can work (either that or pay a penalty). The ANPE would need to know in order to direct you to the right kind of job/employer.

What Jérôme was referring to was the inscription on sick/disabled and unable to work lists. These lists are much longer in some countries than in others. In a diary I wrote last October, I linked to OECD stats on this, with a graph.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 02:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary afew. I wasn't on ET at the time so thanks for adding the link here. This disability categorization discrepancy is a fascinating issue I wasn't aware of in the EU context.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 02:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Alexandra. The difficulty, as you say below, is in knowing, for each country, how sickness/incapacity is defined, and how applied in practice. You need a medical decision of some kind, obviously (Metatone, can you shine a light on UK practice on Incapacity Benefit?)

Numbers on Incapacity Benefit in the UK grew substantially with the arrival of New Labour in power, mostly, I suspect, as a result of the back-to-work policy that put pressure on the unemployed. The majority of people on IB are in former industrial areas where jobs are harder to come by than in S-E England. I suspect a number of long-term unemployed got themselves signed on sick so as to go on receiving benefit while not being pressured to get a job. The government is officially "working" on this now.

My feeling after spending some time looking into employment stats is that (despite ILO standards) there are so many special cases and national quirks that comparisons are hard to establish. The annoying thing is that this doesn't prevent politicians and the media from using more or less massaged numbers for propaganda purposes -- the unemployment figure being next in CW godhead to annual GDP growth...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 02:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still think international comparisons are interesting they just have to include some of the complexity that doesn't make for politically useful sound bites and there has to be some minimum of standardization in what data is collected.

It's in the nitty gritty details (such as definitions) and the context that I find labor statitistics interesting. One of the reasons I like approaches such as the pyramid is that they make it harder to hide the national quirks. With the raw census data one could imagine building a pyramid for France & for the UK, which would have even more detail then the one in my diary. You could distinguish fulltime & part-time work (maybe even include information on voluntary part-time) and include more detail on the types of other not in the labor force groups such as the disabled. If done using the right graph size, or it's corresponding table, it would reveal the large UK disability group.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I think you're absolutely right about graphs. The important thing is the will to make the most accurate, revealing graphs possible. Not "soundbite" graphs.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You basically have the right of it, but it's important to note that this was done with government complicity to some degree.

I'll comment more if I have more chance.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew you just made my day!

Your diary is the kind of thing that I need to feel confident that Sarkozy's pledge to follow Blair is nothing more than idiotic. Our alleged dysfunctionally social country might even be doing better than the most economically liberal countr(ies) in Europe ... amazing!!

Vive la Commune et Vive le Socialisme !!!

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 02:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should make your day more often so we can sing Le temps des cerises together!

Vive la Commune!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 02:50:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very interesting Jerome. It seems to me it's all in how you define disabled. It makes perfect sense to me that if you have a disability and are able to work you would be counted in the labor force (employed or unemployed). However, if you are unable to work then whether temporarily of permanently then it seem to make sense that you would not be included in the labor force numbers. Do you have an idea of how disability is defined in the cases you mention?
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To add to what Migeru already replied. Women are more likely than men to engage in unpaid work such as housework and childcare (not to take away from the fact that some may be sunning on some beautiful beach somewhere but I'd say that's the exception). My favorite example is if a man marries his full time housekeeper she goes from being part of the labor market to being out of the labor market even if she continued to do the exact same work. Another example is the case of a couple I know. He is an eye doctor and she does all the accounting for the office. He's self employed and she does unpaid accounting work for his office. If she wasn't his wife she's be an employee or he's have to do the accouting himself.

Other reasons individuals could be considered out of the labor market is if they are physically unable to work, but there I would not expect a big difference between men & women.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also think, but have no data to substantiate this, that a lot more women are active in volunteer work than men, and I believe that free, volunteer work does not fall in the "labour market" category, no?
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a table on volunteers (percent of participation in non-profit organizations). Women do seem to participate more actively then men but fewer are in positions of responsibility.

The rows are:

  • Just a member
  • Participates actively (occasionally or regularly)
  • Has a position of responsibility.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this is only the repartition amongst people active in associations between those that are members, active, or have responsibility. It says nothing about women being more present in associations than men; it only shows that among those present, a smaller portion of women than of men are in positions of responsibility. If there are lots more women than men in associations, that would mean that there are more momen in positions of responsibility than me, because the relative proportions are not so different.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey good point! I plugged this in quick (it was next to the other tables i was more interested in) & didn't interpret it correctly. The actual volunteering rate by gender data must be available somewhere but I don't have time to look it up right now.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another place where 100% bars with three segments would be less misleading...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry had to repost this since the first time I included width 400 by mistake which made the table unreadble.

Here are some statistics on employment rates of men & women with children that illustrate what Migeru & I already replied.

The first table (with the bolded #3) presents the percent of labor market participation (Taux d'activite), employment and unemployment (chomage) of women (femme) and men (homme) in 2003 based on the number of children (enfant) they have. First row is no children, the 2nd to 4th rows are 1,2 and 3 children ages 1 month to 3 years. The following 1,2,3 are for children ages 3 or more and the last row in bold is the total for all couples.

The second table (#4) presents the time spent on different tasks on an average day for women & men in hours & minutes. The rows are:
·    Physiological time (that would be sleep and maybe exercise)
·    Work, studies and job training
·    Domestic time (housecleaning & shopping, childcare,  gardening and the famous French bricolage which is what you do with items you get from the hardware store)
·    Free time
·    Travel time


by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 11:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we are talking about how best to represent information in graphical form, there is a must-read book: Edward Tufte's series: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 08:35:32 AM EST
Perhaps the most useful book ever written...
by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 08:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's been on my shopping list for ages ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 08:59:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the reference I'll have to add it to my shopping list.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:10:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alexandra, thank you for this...I find this chart different and...perhaps strangely...more pleasing to look at than other charts...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 08:55:37 AM EST
Ah! A pyramid convert!!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:11:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If any of you know of other easily accessible sources for census data by individual age & activity type (employed, unemployed, student etc..) for other European countries let me know. It would be interesting to be able to do one or two other pyramids to compare with the 1999 French version. Here is the raw data I used from INSEE if you want an idea of what would be needed to replicate this pyramid.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 10:22:26 AM EST
You can find data on the Eurostat website and also on the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

For more info, you can look at the European Institutions And Resources Links in the European Tribune Wiki section.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 05:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Melanchthon. Interesting resources. Looked into it some more today but cannot find any data that would be detailed enough to do another pyramid by age & activity status. I did find some other UK data I might use for a follow up diary later - after I get some of my own work done.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 12:54:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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