NPR Misinforms Listeners About German Unemployment

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011 04:07

In its top of the hour news segment (no link) Morning Edition told listeners that the unemployment rate in Germany had fallen to 7.0 percent. This is misleading. The 7.0 percent figure is the official German measure of unemployment. This measure counts part-time workers desiring full-time jobs as being unemployed.

By contrast, the OECD calculates a harmonized unemployment rate that uses a methodology that is comparable to the methodology used in the United States. By this measure, the Germany unemployment rate had already fallen to 6.3 percent by March.

News outlets should present the OECD harmonized measure to their audiences. If they use the German government measure, at the very least they should point out that it is not directly comparable to the U.S. rate.