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Can they all be wrong?

by Jerome a Paris Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 03:05:57 AM EST

After the Economist and the Financial Times, it's now the turn of the International Herald Tribune to teach a few lessons to the French, in an article as contemptuous as its title: France's frivolous campaign nears its overdue close

Shall we wade in? Follow me if you're not sick to death of these articles or their deconstructions.

It is time, it is past time, that the French presidential election take place. A campaign that began by addressing serious issues, like a faltering economy and high unemployment, has degenerated into a shouting match about national identity, security and personalities. Psychologists would call the process displacement.

Yeah, we know. The economy, "faltering". Unemployment, terrifying - and the only thing that matters. The French - in denial. The stage is set, as usual.

France is a discombobulated country. It looks lovely; it has many world-class corporations, hospitals and high-speed trains. But it is frustrated at some fundamental level. About 25 percent of the electorate will probably vote in the first round for extremist candidates. That is no coincidence.

And that is different from other periods in French history, how, exactly?  And form any period in the last 50 years, in particular? When the communist party had between 20 and 25% of the votes? (Unless Mr Cohen does not consider the communist party an extremist party?...) And that is comparable how to countries with two-party or first-past-the-post systems, on one side, or those with proportional representation...

Between the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Olivier Besancenot, France's very own postman-Trotskyist, and the unreformed Communist Party and Arlette Laguillier's band of leftists, a larger chunk of radical and irate voters is gathered than in any other West European country.

The "unreformed" communist party? That answers my question above, I guess... but it leaves me to wonder what a "reformed" communist party is. One that becomes socialist? or one that becomes blairist?

These folk think there are too many immigrants - read too many Arabs and blacks. Or they think that a corporation is designed for the exploitation of one set of humans by another. Or they think globalization is designed to devour France's 35-hour workweek. Or they believe, still, in the overthrow of capitalism.

Yeah, let's taint all the parties of the left of racism via the nasty construction of the paragraph (no, no, it's an innocent juxtaposition, of  course...). And let's raise the 35-hour week bogeyman again, it never fails as a symbol of all that's wrong with France's unreconstructed lefties (no matter that most of these lefty parties have criticised the 35-hour week reform for being too hard on blue collar workers, which is true to a large extent because work times were recalculated on a yearly basis, actually giving corporations a lot more flexibility to organise work around the year to fit with periods of higher activity, alternating high-work weeks with less busy workweeks at other times. But such factors are irrelevant; it is an article of faith that the 35-hour week is an heresy and was bad for companies).

One thing they all agree on: The Fifth Republic is dysfunctional. It is, in the evocative French word, "pourri" - rotten to the core.

The French suck. In case you did not get the message.

There are enough of these people for the mainstream candidates to feel obliged to give a nod in their direction. Ségolène Royal, the attractive Socialist who once talked of a Blairite reform of the French left, proved too worried about losing the hard-core left to undertake any such makeover.

Going Blairite is the only thing that a decent party of the left can do, otherwise it is extremist, unreconstructed or stuck in the past.

The nonreform of the Socialist Party, despite the humiliation of first-round elimination in 2002, despite the reforms undertaken by center-left parties throughout Europe since the Cold War's end, seems likely to be recalled as a signal political failure.

Damn these French again for still keeping parties of the left, including a big one. How dare they? Because they're losers, that's why.

As Eric Le Boucher commented in Le Monde, the Socialist Party "has, on the other side of the Channel, a two-hours-and-thirty-minute train ride away, a left-of-center policy that works, and it obstinately affirms that it is in fact a right-wing policy that is failing."

Yep, let's quote the strategically placed neolib journalist in the respectable newspaper to reinforce the point... I have deconstructed Le Boucher many times already here on eurotrib, and I think I actually deconstructed that particular article... (can't find it)

He might have added that many young French men and women are taking that train to London to find a job they can't find in France. The reason they can find a job in the world of "les Anglo-Saxons" is that they can also lose it.

Or that jobs are created in the public sector, thanks to increased public spending? Or that the concentration of French people in London (an undeniable reality) should not hide the fact that France actually imports foreign graduates whereas the UK exports them? Or that France has created as many jobs as the UK in the past 10 years (about 2.5M in each case - except that the creation in France took place exclusively under the Jospin government, in particular when the 35-hour week was put in place, whereas UK jobs were more evenly distributed over the period)

In contrast, the reason they cannot get a job in France is that elaborate job-security mechanisms make employers wary of hiring. Capitalism is only vital, innovative and fluid when it is true to its essential precarious nature. This precariousness can be offset but it must be accepted.

It MUST be. There is no other way. Again the Hegelian sense that this is the inevitable and irresistible march of History. Not that it matters that the job churn rate is the same in France as it is in the US. It's not the facts, it's the narrative...

On the other side of the mainstream political spectrum, Nicolas Sarkozy, a Gaullist, also began with bracing talk of the need for "une rupture." By this he meant a break from the paralyzing functionary's mentality of attachment to state handouts, lifetime employment and cosseting of the jobless.

Yeah, because that's all public sector workers ever do: take money with nothing provided in return. All government jobs are useless waste. And people being paid much less than they could get in the private sector with their education level is not worth the job guarantee (and the pension guarantee). And all unemployed people are "cosseted". Welfare queens all.

It might be a good thing, he suggested early in the campaign, if the French got reacquainted with the stimulating notion of working more to earn more. But that was before he had to cut deals with center-left Gaullists like President Jacques Chirac, and before he decided that security and national identity and the French flag were surer vote winners than economic reform, and before he got worried by the rise of the centrist François Bayrou - before, in short, he opted for the low road to the presidency.

Yeah, because, as we know, working more is always an individual choice, not something that's decided by bosses with little input from isolated workers.

And is this a hint of history been rewritten, with Chirac being branded as a "left of center Guallist"? Yew. A Gaullist AND a lefty. No wonder France is in bad straits.

Sigh. I'm stopping here and jumping to the end

The only serious issue facing France is unemployment. It lies at the root of the anger of the left and the right. It is also the only issue nobody will address with a modicum of seriousness, because the answers to it lie in accepting that "Anglo-Saxon capitalism" is not evil writ large.

The ONLY solution. It's the ONLY solution. It's the ONLY solution.

If unemployment in Britain is 5.5 percent (against 8.5 percent in France), and 75 percent of the population between 15 and 64 has a job (against 63 percent in France), and public services are starting to improve, and French kids cross the Channel to find jobs, perhaps that is more worthy of serious contemplation than French national identity, whatever that may be.

That's the core of the argument. That's what it boils down to every single time.

But all we have is Ségo talking about handing out state funds to give first-time job seekers make-believe jobs, and Bayrou saying he will exempt companies from a few taxes, and Sarko denouncing those who reject jobs in favor of state assistance. The core taboo - France has too much job security and too few incentives to get off benefits - remains untouchable.

People are still protected, err, coddled. It'sintolerable.

The French are aware of this obfuscation. They also know that national identity is an empty rallying cry: their national soccer team is essentially black and North African. This campaign notwithstanding, they want to be leveled with.


Which is why they will probably elect Sarkozy, a straight-talking, America-loving, Israel-favoring son and grandson of immigrants whose electoral acrobatics are most transparently a short-term contrivance.

Okay then.  Why bother with a vote? Listening to pundits is so much simpler.

Shorter answer - yes.

This being said, pourri doesn't mean rotten to the core. It just means rotten.

Talk about laying it on thick.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Apr 18th, 2007 at 05:08:32 PM EST
What knocks me out is the frustration that is palpable in these foreign correspondent and pundit pieces. They're really letting it all hang out. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE FUCKING FRENCH?

What a terrible conflict they must live through, to love well-connected, well-expense-accounted Paris life and yet to misunderstand and dislike France and the French so much!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2007 at 05:43:34 PM EST
I spent the last week travelling through France and I did not see a country in decline. I must see my eye doctor immediately.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2007 at 06:02:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've, obviously, never visited France, unfortunately.  But what little I've seen through pictures and video -- and these were not simply tourist-oriented spots -- certainly backs that up.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What? That I must see an eye doctor?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 04:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or they think that a corporation is designed for the exploitation of one set of humans by another.

What else does it designed for?

A Joint Stock Limited liability Corporation is like a submarine.

A beautiful piece of engineering with a malign purpose: to sink ships and lob nuclear missiles into Moscow.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Apr 18th, 2007 at 06:09:21 PM EST
What I find interesting is how much the coverage is distorted by the respective national neuroses.

I conventional wisdom-type German article I read recently (unfortunately I forget where) ignored virtually all the points hit by the Anglo-Saxon press (except to note that in terms of actual work weeks the French actually put in more hours than the British). Instead, they made big deal out of the early age of retirement (= pension solvency) and the national debt.

To each their own, I guess.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 03:47:22 AM EST
BBC's Mark Mardell, takes an anecdotal look at the French Presidential campaigns.


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 04:53:20 AM EST
Is all this France-bashing going to have any effect on French voters? Or are you the lone (French) voice crying in the wilderness? How aware of all these ugly racist (and I don't mean just that hideous remark about the national soccer team) critiques are the French?
by Matt in NYC on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 04:56:47 AM EST
Except for a few Anglophones, the French voters don't give it a monkey's fart (if you'll excuse my French...), let alone take notice, which is probably the single most maddening thing to the above mentioned pundits.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 03:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't let these American correspondents get you Jerome. After all, things are going so swimmingly over there:
1- Near fascist government for the last six years.
2- Unbelievable debt; internal, external and private.
3- About fifteen per cent of the population without health insurance.
4- Couples having to put in one hundred hour weeks to support their families.
5- The largest prison population per capita in the world.
6- Over pollution and overconsumption of the worlds natural resources by large amounts.
7- And lets not forget being embroiled in a stupid war and occupation that's destroyed Iraq, and the U.S military, and who knows what other harm it will do to America.
I have a fear that Sarkozy would like to make France like America. It's only the downside for France.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 05:30:35 AM EST
Yes, but the Dow is at record levels.

Be reasonable. What else does a country need?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 07:18:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, exchange rates and PPP be damned.  Can't have the proles knowing the Dow's true state, after all.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:03:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the author of the piece is British, not American:

Roger Cohen is a biweekly columnist for the International Herald Tribune, a publication of The New York Times. His columns focus on international politics and relations.

Cohen, a graduate of Oxford University, was born on August 2, 1955, in London.

Just sayin':)

by TGeraghty on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 11:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'll make him an honorary American. For the last 24 years he's worked only for the Wall Street Journal or the New york Times. He's obviously been transformed and corrupted.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 01:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree with most of it, but...

4- Couples having to put in one hundred hour weeks to support their families.

This is pure propaganda from those opposed to the "American Model" (whatever that is) in Europe, especially labor leaders.  That's not to say that one way is better than the other, -- I, personally, prefer it here -- but 70% of Americans work less than 40 hrs per week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The average work week for someone employed full-time is 42.9 hours.  (The average work week, overall, is about 36 hrs, if you divide by 52, or 38, if you deduct vacations.)  And a huge chunk of those working more than that are actually in the top 40% of earners.

The Hundred-Hour Couple as Typical American FamilyTM is simply a myth, as is the the "Typical Americans Have to Work Two or Three Jobs!" line.  It's no less a matter of fearmongering than Faux News banging on about exploding pens after 9/11 as a means to scare the Hallelujahs in the Red States.  If I remember correctly, about 5% of us work more than one job, and the majority of those people actually have master's, professional or doctorate degrees.

The rest I agree with, except (apparently) the part about it being an American correspondent.  The IHT is American-owned, but I suspect most of the correspondents are Europeans.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Counting America's poor

It's not official, but it's virtually indisputable. Poverty in America is much more widespread than has been previously acknowledged.

According to the Census Bureau, nearly 37 million Americans - 12.6 percent of the population - were living in poverty in 2005. That means that four years into an economic expansion, the percentage of Americans defined as poor was higher than at the bottom of the last recession in late 2001, when it was 11.7 percent. But that's not the worst of it. Recently, the bureau released 12 alternative measures of poverty, and all but one are higher than the official rate.

The alternative that hews most closely to the measurement criteria recommended by the National Academy of Sciences yields a 2005 poverty rate of 14.1 percent. That works out to 41.3 million poor Americans, 4.4 million more than were officially counted. Those higher figures indicate that millions of needy Americans are not getting government services linked to official poverty levels.

The census' official measure basically looks only at whether a family has enough pretax income, plus cash benefits from the government, to pay for bare necessities. The academy's criteria called for adding in the value of noncash government benefits like food stamps, and for subtracting expenses like out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related outlays, including child care expenses.

Lawmakers must listen to what the new numbers are telling them and, as a first step, instruct the Census Bureau to adopt the academy's more realistic criteria. They must also realize that improving anti-poverty programs are some of the best investments America can make.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:32:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm with you all the way on poverty-reduction programs, but what does that have to do with the talk of American couples working hundred-hour weeks and two or three jobs each being false?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 03:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just looking for a place to drop that article, and that was vaguely linked.

I'd wager that a lot of poor people do work, but they work two or more part time jobs, with highly inconvenient schedules - thus their working time may be quite low while their time spent in relations to work is quite high (more commutes, or more waiting between working periods).

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 03:53:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough on dropping the article, but part of my point was that the percentage of Americans working more than one job is very low.  (Again, I think it's about 5%, give or take a tenth or two.)  I'm not sure how that compares with European nations, but, whether lower or higher in Europe, it does lead me to believe that the people who speak of Americans working two and three jobs are, to put it politely, kidding themselves and more interested in scaring the Hell out of their fellow Europeans than in having an honest discussion.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 10:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure there are folks in that position, though.  It sounds quite odd, too: One of those scenarios in which it makes sense at the micro level, firm-by-firm, but is probably sickeningly inefficient at the macro level.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 11:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some relevant stats.

Admittedly these are from 2001, but I don't see any reason to believe that working hours have decreased since then.

It seems obvious that price inflation of basic necessities - particularly housing, heating and health care - has been rampant over the last few years in the US.

The choice seems to be between working longer hours - with or without extra pay - or doing without.

Increasingly, the most likely option seems to be to do both.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 07:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Working basically 36 hours per year more in 2001 than in 1990.  That essentially means that Americans spent, I'm guessing, about five minutes more on the clock each day.  In fact, this is likely to be within the margin of error.  (DOL surveys tend to have margins of about 2%, as I recall.  This difference is 1.8%.)  That's a common problem with reporters, although it's usually one during elections, of course, since we get new polls every three minutes: They speak of results which are not statistically significant as though they are.

The real story would seem to be wages not keeping up with labor productivity growth, which the articles pins down at about 2.6% -- quite good, and implying that real pay should've grown at roughly the same rate.  What I'd wonder is how, given that pay in jobs requiring a college degree (accounting, nursing, etc) has increased, the labor productivity figures appear across professions.  Productivity growth at Wal-Mart has been quite strong, for example, but I believe this is largely the result of capital goods.

My sense is that the wage figures are more important than the hours worked.

Real wage gains in the states were above 3% as of November 20th (October 2005 to October 2006), though, and they may well rise at a faster pace -- perhaps quite worrying -- if the unemployment rate, which dropped two tenths of a percentage point last month, continues to fall.  That, however, may well be tamed by a slowing economy.  (I'm still waiting for the outlook we get this summer.)  We've received some surprisingly good news, much better than I expected, in that area.  Inflation doesn't seem to be jumping because of the wage growth either, which is incredibly great news.  The productivity growth figures are worrying on that front, though, as Dean Baker pointed out recently.  That's a big reason for why I suspect -- along with food and energy costs -- the Fed is so reluctant to slash rates.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 11:46:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should qualify that, for others who may not have read the article, as being 2.6% labor productivity growth from '90 to '01 rather than '01 to '07.  It's less than 2% right now.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 11:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder why they never mention one of these two studies?

Inactivity, Sickness and Unemployment in Great Britain: Early Analysis at the Level of Local Authorities
(Oct. 2003, pdf-file)

Great Britain (GB) has almost five times more working age sickness & incapacity benefit claimants than 3 decades ago - though (nationally) most health indicators have improved, and many claimants would prefer to work. The increase is unmatched in other European Union (EU) states and is concentrated among older, unskilled men in areas of high unemployment. GB also has a higher composite rate of unemployment and inactive sickness than either France or Germany.
There is evidence that the relatively low ILO unemployment rate in the United Kingdom (UK) results in part from misclassification of some unemployed persons as long-term sick or disabled. True long-term joblessness in the UK is relatively high - suggesting that more appropriate benefit structures could be used to reduce inactivity.

The Diversion From `Unemployment' To `Sickness' Across British Regions And Districts
(April 2004, pdf-file)

This article explores what is probably the largest single distortion to the data - the diversion from unemployment to sickness benefits. In particular, the article presents new and up-to-date estimates of the scale of the diversion and, for the first time in a journal article, provides estimates of the size of the diversion in every region and district of Great Britain.
The other measure of unemployment (and officially the preferred one, even though it is less often quoted) is the ILO measure derived from the Labour Force Survey. This uses the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment which counts anyone who is out of work and wants a job, is available to start in the next two weeks, and has looked for work in the last four weeks. The ILO definition produces unemployment figures for Britain as a whole that in the last three or four years have been around half a million higher than the claimant count. In theory the ILO measure of unemployment is independent of benefit rules. In practice, because there is no requirement for IB claimants to look for work and because many think that they would not find suitable work, most IB claimants do not look for work. They therefore fail one of the ILO unemployment tests and drop out of the ILO unemployment figures as well as the claimant count.
Table 3 also shows the numbers estimated to be part of this diversion. Across Britain as a whole it is estimated that 1,130,000 people have been diverted from unemployment to sickness benefits - 650,000 men and 470,000 women. For comparison, total claimant unemployment across Britain at the same time (August 2003) stood at just 911,000. The comparison is illuminating: it suggests that Britain has more `hidden' unemployed among sickness claimants than `visible' unemployed on the claimant count.

Or did they change the laws and regulations in the meantime? I couldn´t find anything about it. Only that the latest OECD report about that topic mentioned higher than average numbers of sickness claimants too.
If true, these reports would suggest that "real" British unemployment rates aren´t that different from France or Germany.

By the way, Jerome, don´t take them so seriously. Bad for your blood pressure. :)
But what were they to do? After collectively (FT, NYT, Economist) deciding this year that maybe Germany isn´t the sick man of Europe any longer, they naturally needed a new one to feel superior. Preferably "Old Europe", Eurozone member. Not a member of the "coalition of the willing" a bonus. And that would be France if you want to choose one of the larger EU countries.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 08:39:14 AM EST
If you look at employment ratios for the UK and France they are not that different:

France has a higher employment-to-population ratio for 25-54 year olds than does the US.

by TGeraghty on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 11:59:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The young and the old are not working enough?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 12:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They say that, but the young and the old being less likely to have employment is fairly typical.  I don't follow why that's so shocking to a lot of these reporters.  Most people under twenty five are either in school or just entering the labor market.  They're unskilled, relative to older workers, so they're not as highly demanded.  Older workers see less employment for various reasons.  Maybe they retire early in one case, or they're too expensive compared with the cost of paying and training the young in another case, or perhaps they're discriminated against in another case.  Whatever the reason, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

From what I've read, the status of older workers is changing a bit, too.  A lot of companies have been making noise in recent years about prefering older workers in the states because of the difference in skills and attitude, which makes sense to me, based on my experience.  I do find that the two groups have a different mentality in many cases.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hissing! :)

That´s exactly my point! Obviously France, Germany etc. have an unemployment problem. I´m simply saying that countries like the UK and the USA, our "examples" according to the "FT", "The Economist" etc. have the exact same problem too.

The UK apparently masks it with "sickness/disability" benefits. The USA partly hides it with their prison population and the size of their armed forces. Not to mention the fact that European welfare states will support you much longer than any US program. You just have to register (as unemployed) for it.

And just to mention it.

There was an article in the NYT Germany's Export-Led Economy Finds Global Niche about the new "German economic wonder" on April 13, 2007. Curiously enough, that article mentioned an unemployment rate of 9.8% in their article. The author however didn´t mention at all that he used "German national" unemployment rates instead of the more comparable ILO unemployment rates.

Of course I complained to him.
Guess what he wrote back?

I used the German unemployment figure because that's what drives the perception of Germany's economic health within the country. The fact that it recently fell below double digits was greeted as a minor milestone.

Not even mentioning the fact that he was primarily writing for an American newspaper. How many Germans read the NYT? Why use a German number while writing for a primarily American newspaper?

But you are right that I should have included a brief explanation of the differences in definition, and perhaps cited the ILO/OECD number as well. I've done this in other stories when I've compared German unemployment to that in other countries. In those cases, I've used the ILO number for an apples-to-apples comparison.

He should have. I fail to see however why use of ILO numbers in former stories excuse him. Unless he expects that NYT readers are a static mass, reading every single story the NYT produces for months on end.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 07:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is employment 88% (25-54 years old) in Sweden now?!

No wonder there is a lot of jobs. Guess the Nordic model is still going strong.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Apr 20th, 2007 at 12:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a discussion of this, based on other evidence (I wish I'd found yours at the time!), see this diary.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 12:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

German upswing expected to last for 18 months

Germany's strong economic upswing is set to last at least another 18 months, with economic growth of 2.4 per cent expected both this year and next, Germany's five top economic think-tanks will predict Wednesday.

The German economy is "expanding exceptionally strongly", according to the institutes' six-monthly report, to be presented Wednesday and obtained in advance by the Financial Times Deutschland.


In another awkward twist for Mr Steinbrück, the institutes have called for income tax cuts in the long term. The minister has this month struggled to damp demands from within the ruling coalition for such cuts. Both he and Ms Merkel are committed to further budget consolidation before raising spending or reducing taxes.

The pace of the upswing appears to have surprised the think-tanks, since their most recent forecast, in October, was of growth this year of only 1.4 per cent. This pessimistic view was linked to a value-added tax rise in January from 16 per cent to 19 per cent. But this has been less economically damaging than feared, they argue.

Expect more noise about France being the "sick man of Europe" (despite its growth having finally been 2.5% this year)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 01:50:29 PM EST
Germany's strong economic upswing is set to last at least another 18 months, with economic growth of 2.4 per cent expected both this year and next, Germany's five top economic think-tanks will predict Wednesday.

Which is above trend (1.8% using population and productivity growth), and so a sign of absorbing unused capacity.  I believe the actual vs. trend difference in France is slightly lower but still present.

Reform or not, those are signs of healthy recovery.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2007 at 02:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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