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Cyclical. </oblig>

More seriously this reminds me of how careful we have to be with the comparisons between the US and even the EU-15 (let alone EU-25). Greece, Spain, Portugal and more recently East Germany have all been "added to the union" in relatively recent history (certainly in "geological economic time"). Isn't this year the 20th anniversary for Spain

On another tangent, it's very interesting to look at these figures, particularly the breakdown for Sweden (87% employment rate in this group!) alongside the reports around the Swedish election citing discontent at a sluggish economy that is not providing enough jobs.

Now some of that is about disenfranchisement of 18-25 year olds, but there was also some indication of a large number on "disability benefits."

The fun thing about "flexisecurity" is that it riles up economists on the grounds of "moral hazard." Fundamentally it runs into the narrative of the "feckless poor" and causes a mess.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 05:20:23 AM EST
It certainly seems to me that the employment issues in the election were to some extent fabricated. I guess the man-on-the-street feels that employment is not as strong as it ought to be.
Now for some graphs. All data is from Statistiska Centralbyrån(SCB) (Central Statistics Bureau, Swedish official statistics agency), or OECD(labeled as such). Employment statistics by SCB are collected once a month by phone interviews asking people if they have worked atleast one hour in the past week, and if not, why not. I divided all numbers by the total population in the agegroups, not by the active population. Note the difference in the lower age group: SCB do work stats only from age 16, while OECD do 15-24.
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There is quite a difference between those counted as employed and those who actually worked the past week when asked. The OECD numbers are close to the "employed" with the difference possibly made up for by the total vs. active population? Difference is quite small except in the 16-24 (15-24) group.
Why do employed persons not work? (All age groups)
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Vacation, sickness, and care of child are most common. Man, Swedes must have a lot of vacation!
I am wondering where this large number on disability benefits is hiding. Are they counted as employed? Surely they are not counted as working? I can't find stats refering to these people specifically. How about those people in various governmental worker education programs? Are they employed or not, statistics wise? If not, are there really so many? The Swedish employment question is quite puzzling. I can't seem to find numbers to suggest that this "employment crisis" that was discussed before the election actually exist.
Last graph. Work and education/military service:
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Well, look at that! Seems like for the 16-24 group the two curves are closly related. The numbers in military service have gone down since 1978, so the increase is in education. These numbers come from the "people not in workforce" stats. In "education" quite a lot might be included, perhaps even "silly governmental non-education worker education programs". But if so, if one looks at the 25-54 group where a lot of such persons might hide out, we still end up with only a few percent.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 09:14:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a Swede, may I say regarding those 87%, that we are second to few in massaging unemployment statistics.

(Someone I know who works in education once received a memo from his boss. This was late summer, mid-nineties. The wording was to the effect that "This is all we currently have lined up for autumn. However, please be prepared for sudden goverment funding in case we are called upon to hide some unemployment".)

I like "geological economic time". (What would be "geological IT time" - Two years?)

by Number 6 on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 09:27:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's harder to massage employment statistics than unemployment statistics.

Maybe people are paid to do little or are counted as employed when they aren't really, which improves employment, but they are still paid, and they activity or lack thereof is then reflected in productivity numbers. Employment is counted relative to total population, which is a pretty well known number.

Unemployment is counted relative to "active population", an altogether fuzzier concept (and the easiest way to cheat on unemployment statistics is to move the active unemployed to the inactive - it's just a labelling trick and it costs nothing, as opposed to payign them to pretend to be working)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 09:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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