Wed May 24th, 2017 at 12:02:19 PM EST
The Independent have taken the trouble to explain a little more about the structure of youth labour markets than we normally see:
There are two ways of measuring youth unemployment: the youth unemployment rate and the youth unemployment ratio. And in the examples above reporters are referencing the first.
But this may be misleading. The youth unemployment rate is the number of the country’s youth (defined as those between 15 and 24) who are unemployed as a share of the numbers of young people in that age bracket who are considered part of the active labour market, meaning they are actively seeking work.
The youth unemployment ratio is the number of the country’s youth who are unemployed as a share of the total number of young people in that age bracket, regardless of whether they are seeking work or not.
This is a particularly important distinction for this age group since so many of them tend to be in higher education or vocational training and are thus not part of the active labour market.
The upshot is that France is about the same as the UK (though you can argue that people go into education rather than work because there aren't jobs. Or not. Maybe they go into further study because they can.) and Greece and Spain are bad, but not as bad as the unemployment rates would make you think.
As we've discussed before, comparing unemployment rates across economies with different structures is fraught with all sorts of problems: changes in rates are more interesting, but don't generate click-worthy headlines.