3 thoughts on “The pain in Spain”

  1. I think unemployment rates give a distorted picture of the labour market.
    Figures for the percentage of the adult population actually in employment give a more accurate picture. This is because some countries, particularily in continental Europe, are now expert in disguising unemployment by (a) putting people on invalidity benefit for minor ailments and (b) allowing people to retire from the workforce when merely in late middle-age. I did some research last year, and here the figures for anyone interested.

    The first table gives the percentage of the population aged 15+ actually in employment. To compute the figures, a part-time job was equated to half a
    full-time job (a bit crude, I know). As the figures show, Ireland had a very high employment rate. Even if Ireland’s percentage falls to 50% by next year, other countries also will show falls (possibly smaller falls), leaving Ireland still with one of the highest employment rates. in the EU. Likewise, Spain. When you look at its employment rate, its a lot better than a lot of countries, even though its supposed unemployment rate is higher. Even within the island of Ireland, you get a different picture by looking at employment rates rather than unemployment rates. In the Republic, the unemployment rate is now much higher than in N. Ireland. But, the employment rate is also much higher than in N. Ireland. The reason is that in N. Ireland far more people are put on invalidity benefit. This is also one of the major differences between Ireland in 2009 and Ireland in the 1980s, which some economists aren’t taking into account when making apoplyptic predictions of mass emigration. In the 1980s the employment rate for adults (aged 15+) in Ireland was 35% to 40% against 45% to 50% in other EU countries. In 2009, even on the most pessimistic projections, it will only fall to about 50%.

    Denmark 55.6%
    Ireland 55.5%
    Portugal 54.3%
    Slovenia 54.0%
    Finland 52.4%
    Sweden 52.1%
    U. Kingdom 52.1%
    Austria 51.6%
    Spain 50.3%
    Netherlands 49.1%
    Luxembourg 49.0%
    Germany 48.0%
    France 47.9%
    Greece 47.7%
    Belgium 44.7%
    Italy 42.8%

    The second table gives the average exit age from the labour force in 2006.
    As the figures show, in some countries average retirement age is 5 years earlier than Ireland. For example, France. Which explains why, although the supposed unemployment rate in France is now lower than in Ireland, the employment rate in France is far lower than in Ireland.

    Ireland 64.1
    Sweden 63.9
    U. Kingdom 63.2
    Portugal 63.1
    Finland 62.4
    Neth’lands 62.1
    Spain 62.0
    Denmark 61.9
    Germany 61.9
    Greece 61.1
    Austria 61.0
    Belgium 60.6
    Italy 60.2
    Luxembourg 59.4
    France 58.9

  2. spain have the lowest amount of people earning minimum wage at 0.8% , perhaps they need to reform their labour laws? More people on min wage is better than trending towards 20% unemployment.

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