Fri Mar 31st, 2006 at 06:57:17 AM EST
A curse, and a blessing, on you Jerome for providing a link to this OECD Fact Book, which has been an insidious invasion of my evening time. I've had some fun (?) looking at these numbers, and I thought I would share my "noodlings on a yellow pad" with the group--probably put everyone to sleep, which is where I should be midnight in California. There are a huge amount of numbers here, so as I sketched things, I decided I could only handle three sets of data, and I chose EU15, France (which on some of the numbers seemed close to Germany and Italy) and the US. I was focused on the employment rate, and I looked at the trend over a 15 year period, 1990--2004, but present numbers below for 2004:
Promoted by Colman
* The overall employment rates for the three groups were:
o EU15 64.6%
o France 62.4%
o USA 71.2%
* For men the rates were:
o EU15 72.4%
o France 68.1%
o USA 77.2%
* For women the rates were:
o E15 56.7%
o France 56.7%
o USA 65.4%
* The overall employment for people 25 to 54 years of age:
o E15 77.6%
o France 79.3%
o USA 79.0%
* The overall employment for people 55 to 64 years of age:
o EU15 42.3%
o France 40.6%
o USA 59.9%
* The overall employment for people 15 to 24 years of age:
o EU15 38.8%
o France 26.4%
o USA 53.9%
My thoughts after looking at the numbers are as follows:
* While different societies may have different views as to when one normally begins work, and when one normally retires, almost all would include the ages of 25 to 54 years of age as "working years". In this age group, the employment rates are extremely close, ranging from 77.6% for the EU15 to 79.3% for France--France and the US being virtually identical at 79.3% versus 79%.
* Overall employment rates for all age groups and genders are higher in the US as compared to the EU15 or France--71% versus 62% and 65%. Much of this differential is explained by the following comments.
* The overall employment rate for the 15 to 24 year group shows a significantly higher rate for the US. However, as we have shown in diaries, at least as far as France is concerned, much of this is due to this age group attending university at a much higher participation rate than the US--and in fact the unemployment rate as a percentage of the entire age group is similar between the US and France, and perhaps this argument may carry overf to the OECD as a whole.
* The employment rate for the 55--64 age group is significantly higher in the US--roughly 60% versus 40%. It would be interesting to understand this in more detail, but I believe the French retirement age is 60, versus the American age of 65 (moving up to 67), and this may account for a lot of this. Question though, is would it account for all of this--it's a big differential.
* French/OECD females participate at a similar level, but lower than the US--the differential being 8%--it's unclear if this is an explanation since the differential between French/OECD men and US men is also 8%.
I'm seriously looking for input on this data and my tentative conclusions on the data. But if I'm interpreting the above data correctly, it would seem that 1) France and overall OECD figures are in general similar, 2) employment rates are actually higher in the US than in France/OECDE, but 3) the differential is mainly in the 15-24 and 55-64 age groups, which could be explained by programs supporting more education in the early years, and early retirement in the later years.
I'm really presenting this as a strawman for comment--I could have totally missed something here, it's late in California. I have not spent enough time going through this data to be confident of my conclusions. And I would love data driven challenging comments. *But this data does not seem to support an assumption we sometimes see that there is a large "I've given up looking for a job" group in the US, at least as compared to the EU 15 and France*.
Looking forward to your input (at least somewhat, will be embarrassed if I've totally made a basic logic mistake and I'm not looking forward to that revalation.)