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Youth unemployment

by Jerome a Paris Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 08:49:23 AM EST

Le Monde printed a fascinating graph yesterday (not yet available online, but accompanying this article: Unprecedented deregulation of the labor market about the new, less constraining contracts proposed for younger and older workers):

On the left is the employment rate of 15-24 years old in various countries (i.e. the proportion of the whole age wlass that works); on the right is the unemployment rate, but as a percentage of the whole age class and not just of those working. The unemployment rate we usually hear about is the ratio of the right divided by the sume of the two numbers: unemployed/"active" (with active = "employed" + "unemployed"). Thus the French "youth unemployment is 21%, and the British one 12%, but it's essentially the same number of people.

This graph shows that unemployment rates are not very different across Europe; what changes is the employment rate. But as that can be caused by education policies as much as by labor policies, we enter a new twilight world of complexity there.


Display:
We'll fight them with statistics...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 08:58:29 AM EST
We'll start by fighting the fact that the bars on the left are shrunk by a factor of between 4 and 5 with respect to the ones on the right...

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An excellent design choice, eh?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be much, much happier with 100% bars divided into three segments: employed, on benefits, and inactive.

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
agree 100%
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually what would be interesting is to have employed, unemployed, inactive & in school, other inactive. I did a bunch of tables along those lines for a project I worked on. We even had age pyramids with school & labor market status for youth & the results where quite interesting (this was not US or European data).
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:42:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose that's what Jerome meant by
we enter a new twilight world of complexity there


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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. The pyramids where very informative but a lot of work to pull together and required a lot more data elements.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 11:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any chance you can post them in a diary?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 11:16:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll have to look into it. The work was done for a client. However, I could certainly post some samples of the methodology if not the actual data results. I'll try to get to it in the next few days.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 11:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, why are 61.5% of French youth, but only 37.0% of British youth and 32.1% of Danish youth "inactive" and what does inactivity entail?

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:00:03 AM EST
Being a student would do, for a start.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that since the UK introduced "top-up fees", it is increasingly likely (and necessary) for British students to work at least part-time while they study.

Denmark is peculiar in that there is (or used to be, last I knew) substantial state support for students, but people still chose to work, travel and generally do all kinds of other things on the side.

In Spain as far as I know it is extremely hard to work and study at the same time, neither side allowing for flexible schedules.

Anyway, the point is, if you're a full-time student you're "dependent". Who's picking up the tab?

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:45:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But wouldn't that assume a much higher percentage of youths going to college in France?  I think more attend in France than in Britain, though I could be wrong, but the difference was not that enormous.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:46:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many US undergraduates are active if you include financial aid programmes involving on-campus work?

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't the slightest idea, but I'm guessing it's a fairly large percentage, but, again, that's just a guess based wholly on my experience.  Everyone I know (knew) works (worked).  My parents and their friends all worked.  Most financial aide does not allow for living expenses, and, even though most students come from middle-class backgrounds, they still can't afford to not work.  I managed to avoid working for the last two years of my degree, but only because I saved while I worked full-time during community college (first year and a half), which costs only a fraction of what university education costs.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yay for community colleges. When I was a TA, my best (most engaged) undergraduates tended to be CC transfers.

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's similar to my experience.  I think part of it lies in CC transfers being students who were probably more likely to have worked during their CC years, while the kids who went straight to the university ended up spending the first two years at parties and sleeping through half the classes.  There seems to be a difference in maturity.  The people I know who went to CC also graduated, or currently have, higher GPAs than those who started at university straight out of high school.

Not sure what the stats show.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 01:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is my opinion of the US higher education system. Do you agree, Drew?

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 06:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In general, absolutely.  However, my experience with how community college students are viewed is different, in that no one has ever held it against me.  In fact, many admire it, especially if you're headed to prestigious schools for graduate school.  I had a classmate in sociology who is now headed to Smith University.  She was a community college grad, and now she's headed to the most prestigious women's school in the country.

There's no shame, whatsoever, in community college.  As I said, most people I know who went straight to the universities from high school ended up drunk and stoned for the first two years.  Many flunked out and ended up in community colleges, anyway.  And they're all spending more than the traditional four years in school, whereas my fiancee graduated in only three and a half years with her degree, and I finished within the same period with two degrees.

Once you get beyond the introductory coursework, which is offered at any community college, I think it's better to have professors who are more concerned with research, since they're more able, in my experience, to walk you through complex concepts and demonstrate the concepts' usefulness, from an academic standpoint.

What will be interesting to see is whether states will begin making it their policies to have all students first attend community college for the first two years, and then to have them move on to the universities.  I think it would be a mistake, and would crowd out the students who want and need to remain local and keep fees down, but I'm hearing more and more talk of it in the local press here in Tallahassee.  I guess the state legislature and the governor are thinking about it.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 07:23:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She was a community college grad, and now she's headed to the most prestigious women's school in the country.

By the way, you mentioned others viewing CCs as being where brown people go to school.  My old classmate is black, grew up poor, and damned if she's not pulling ahead of everyone.  Just goes to show the truth in your point about smart kids finding a way.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 07:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This is where brown kids go to school" is something I heard Sherman alexie say during a talk at Riverside Community College, to stress why he loved talking at CCs.

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 03:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are differences in how countries regard part-time work as well. You may count as inactive in most European countries even if you work part-time while in the US one hour of work makes you employed if I recall properly.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The one hour cut of is the international labor organization (ILO/BIT) definition agreed upon by member nations & used in most international comparisons of unemployment. See my post further down for more on the two versions of unemployment calculated in France.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ILO agreements are guidelines and several of the surveys depart from them as far as I could make out from the small print in the OECD comparisons.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the most part EU countries are using or will use the ILO definition in the near future. Euro-stats uses the ILO definition but caps the age group at 74. The latest Eurostat memo states:

Current deviations from definition of unemployment in the EU Labour Force Survey
Spain, United Kingdom: Unemployment is restricted to persons aged 16-74. In Spain the legal age limit for working is 16.
Netherlands: Persons without a job, who are available for work and looking for a job are only included in unemployment if they express that they would like to work.
The remaining deviations will disappear as Member States adapt their surveys to the new definitions. The other Member States already comply with the definition.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I should add that countries can still maintain their own national versions of unemployment definition. France for example has two definitions.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That'll make life a little easier I suppose. It still doesn't help with the structural differences, but at least the surveys will be on the same basis.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:54:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You´re right.
If you follow German national definitions on unemployment you can count as unemployed if you work less than 15 hours a week.
That´s one of the reasons (but only one of them) why there is such a big difference between the national unemployment rate of around 11% and the ILO rate of around 8% for Germany.
by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect most of the difference coming from the proportion of students that do not need (or choose) to work at the same time.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For example in Germany you are considered "inactive" (neither employed nor unemployed) in that age group if you:
  • go to school
  • go to university
  • do compulsary service like the draft

And students in Germany can work for 19 hours a week (or full time during spring and summer breaks) without losing their student status. Meaning that you only have to pay the wage tax but no payments for unemployment insurance and social security. And you still stay in the student health insurance.

If other countries count such a student as "active" and employed, that would change the numbers.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What nasty things happen to students who work longer than 19 hours in Germany?

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You´re losing your student privileges.
The law then says that your studies are no longer the "main" part of your "life".

Meaning you will have to pay the same things as a normal employee. Including unemployment insurance, health insurance and so on (always fixed percentages of the wage). So you´re set to loose a nice piece of your wage.

(As a student you only pay a fixed amount of money each month for health insurance. Right now I believe around Euro 50 per month.)

And additionally the employer normally pays half of these percentages. Meaning additional costs for him too. So given the chance he probably would like to avoid that. :)

The university itself isn´t interested in what you do.  

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So if you can't make ends meet at 19h/wk, you'll give up studying altogether. Which is the kind of stuff lurking behind these statistics of youth employment.

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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a worst case yes.

But I suspect most students in such a case (working 19 hours a week "officially") would then resort to an additional "unofficial" job. Say private babysitting or housecleaning. With money paid without "administration involvement". :)

Always assuming of course that your official job isn´t that well paying. I mean if you need to work more than 19 hours a week, you simply have to check if it´s worth the effort. If you work 25 hours and after everything is subtracted, you only have Euro 20 more than with a 19 hour job...
In that case a 19 hour job and once or twice babysitting makes probably more sense, financially.

And of course a lot depends on where you´re studying.
I already mentioned the fixed student health insurance so that wouldn´t change. But Munich for example is more expensive than smaller university cities.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 11:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A typical way to fudge unemployment statistics is to push people out of unemployment benefits, which is the statistic that is usually taken as a measure of unemployment.

So, if I have this right...

The total population is divided between:

  • employed
  • unemployed (meaning on unemployment benefits)
  • inactive (meaning none of the above)


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 Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:06:25 AM EST
Which is why the labour force surveys are considered the correct way to assess unemployment.

Unemployed normally means hasn't looked for work in n weeks, where n is a small integer, generally 1 or 2.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correction: unemployed normally means has unsuccessfully looked for work in the last n weeks, where n is a small integer, generally 1 or 2.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 09:47:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just about right. However, your definition implies that once a person stops getting unemployment benefits they are no longer considered unemployed. In general (International labor organization, ILO, definition) a person is considered unemployed if they worked less then a hour and looked for employment in the reference week regardless of whether or not their actually received benefits. They also have to be physically able to work in the 15 days following the reference week and only individuals 15 & older are included. Individuals who in the reference week stated they found employment but have not yet started their job are also included among the unemployed. In France there are two ways official unemployment statistics are calculated:
  1. the ministry of employment calculates monthly unemployment rates based on the number of people who registered with the state unemployment agency (ANPE) as looking for work. This includes both individuals who received unemployment benefits & those who do not. Unlike the ILO definition these numbers count among the unemployed individuals who worked less then 78 hours in the last month unlike the 1 hour ILO definition. For more details here is a link in French.
  2. The national statistics institute (INSEE) provides another measure of unemployment based on surveys of the population and using the International Labor Organization definition of unemployment. This is the number to use for international comparions. Right now it's 9.6% for the whole population for the end of November.

Good employment surveys also add questions to find out if people are underemployed & thus while they are working less then full time they would actually want to work more.

The one hour issue was debated a bit in France since apparently there are more people working temporary jobs (temp agency work etc..) then in other European countries but that's another issue.

Finally, regarding your question on what the "inactive" population is doing: they could be in school, have given up on looking for work at this point, do unpaid work (including childcare/housekeeping for their household etc..), they could be disables & thus unable to work. They real issue in terms of faulty unemployment statistics is the people who have given up looking for work and the underemployed.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 10:25:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very much looking forward to a contribution from Alex in Toulouse on that subject. As for myself, I will restrain to lurking on current diaries.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 03:34:06 PM EST
extremely skeptical of how any statistics relating to employment/unemployment are measured in any country.
by observer393 on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 12:15:01 AM EST


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