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Re point 4: This is definitely a valid criticism to putting the two charts side by side. But are there significant variants between US states in how meaningless the unemployment figures are?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 01:44:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's actually not a valid criticism.  Those workers are counted in the U4, U5 and U6 metrics.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 07:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK. But it's still meaningless to put the charts side by side without saying which metrics you are using.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 07:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, but that's true of all stats.  Always a good idea to take a look at the notes to be sure of what you're reading.  Also why, in this case, it's a good idea to look at harmonized unemployment metrics across countries.  The BLS produces them (I think) either annually or quarterly.  The IMF produces them as well.

Most stats agencies are collecting the same stuff though.  It's just a question of whether they have the resources to collect the data (and the independence to do it properly).  Comparing stats from North America and Western Europe is usually a pretty easy task.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 05:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding:

And if the criticism is that the headline unemployment (U3) doesn't count those workers, I'd note the criticsm is as valid with regard to Eurostat as it is the BLS.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 07:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There may be some overlap between marginally attached and those that have been excluded from the labor force.  The problem is that the marginally attached definition requires that you have actively applied in the last year.  There are a lot of people who would be in the labor force, but haven't applied in the last year.  The way the Census trains for CPS, this very explicit.  They don't follow up to ask if you would have applied, but haven't because you haven't found an appropriate job.

The broader point is that there has emerged a secular divergence between Euro area labor force participation and that of the US.

What's going on? Europe and the United States face some of the same demographic and economic forces. Populations are aging on both sides of the Atlantic. Many workers in Europe, too, have stopped looking for work, discouraged by lack of opportunities.

There is, however, one big difference. In the euro area, the working rate of older women is still much lower than it is in the United States. Almost half of American women over 45 are in the labor market, compared to fewer than 40 percent in the euro zone. And European women are picking up the slack. So despite a severe economic downturn, the share of older women in the labor pool has been growing at a robust clip.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2015 at 11:57:22 PM EST
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Europe panicked in 2009 over large deficits (due to automatic stabilizers) and pulled on the brake in 2010 (with the sovereign debt crisis). Then in 2011 you get the divergence from the US recovery, and Trichet raised rates for good measure causing a double-dip recession. Yay for Europe!

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 Tue Apr 21st, 2015 at 03:53:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times have been tough these past five years in Europe, and many households who had been able to get by with a single income now need two. I'm guessing that the quality of the jobs (number of hours, hourly rate) added by increased female participation has been pretty low, with lots of mini-jobs.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Apr 21st, 2015 at 06:43:23 AM EST
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Another factor likely at play in Europe is that there were a lot of well educated German women available when the need for more labor emerged. These are the low hanging fruit of any increase in women's employment, especially considering the productivity gained.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2015 at 09:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that the marginally attached definition requires that you have actively applied in the last year.  There are a lot of people who would be in the labor force, but haven't applied in the last year.

Now this is at least to some degree a valid criticism.  A few points though:

The default outcome is two years, really, because in order to receive the two consecutive years of unemployment comp (thanks Bill!), you have to actively look for work.  The number of people who would refuse that is, I think we'd all agree, exceedingly small.

Once that runs out, you're going to run into very few people who have not applied for a job -- great ones, middling ones, lots of shit ones -- within a year-long period, because, simply put, they're going to be on the streets otherwise.  Nearly all in that scenario will wind up taking shitty part-time jobs and getting counted under the alternative measures.  Some older ones -- and this is true especially given the Boomer retirement we're going through -- will fold and take shittier retirements.  But most will be caught by the measure.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2015 at 05:50:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding:  On the participation rate charts.

Eurogreen apparently had a similar thought to me.  The crisis in Europe hit the periphery, where you're going to find less development and (I suspect) more traditional, one-income households generally.  The hit to wages from the recession was also much more dramatic on the periphery than it was in the US or the EZ core.

The demographics are pretty similar.  Ignoring the crisis, you should actually see participation rising faster in the US, because stronger job growth here should induce more labor participation.  But incorporating the crisis into the analysis probably gives you a good chunk of the answer.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2015 at 06:14:40 PM EST
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