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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Germany's Unemployment Rate is 5.2 Percent, Not 6.5 Percent

Germany's Unemployment Rate is 5.2 Percent, Not 6.5 Percent

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Monday, 04 November 2013 05:39

The official German unemployment rate includes people working part-time who would like full-time jobs. For this reason it is not directly comparable to the unemployment rate in the United States. Fortunately the OECD produces a harmonized unemployment rate for its members which is directly comparable.

For this reason it was needlessly misleading for the NYT to tell readers that the unemployment rate across Germany is 6.5 percent. This refers to the official Germany government measure. The OECD harmonized unemployment rate for Germany is 5.2 percent.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Employed
written by nineteen50, November 04, 2013 3:17
How many of the employed are military or military support jobs? Now add in NSA and homelan security.
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written by David S., November 04, 2013 4:18
Dean,

I am a big fan of yours and I always appreciate your clarification of the differing measures of unemployment between Germany and the U.S. In fact, I teach Intro Macro at a local college, and I always supplement the comparison in the text (McConnell,Brue)with this correction.

However, I have one suggestion: You should write that "[t]he official German unemployment rate includes AS UNEMPLOYED people working part-time who would like full-time jobs, WHILE THE OFFICIAL U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCLUDES SUCH PEOPLE AS EMPLOYED." (changes in CAPITAL LETTERS. Since you are writing about a "rate," a reference only to how certain people are "included" in the rate does not inform the reader if they are included in the ranks of the unemployed (i.e., the numerator).
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written by watermelonpunch, November 04, 2013 5:06
Wow, this is at least the 3rd time I've had to see this corrected.

You'd think people supposedly in the business of reporting these things would know by now that Germany calculates unemployment this way.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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