The NYT Can't Find Germany's Unemployment Rate

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Saturday, 12 January 2013 09:09

It is incredibly annoying to see a serious paper tell readers that Germany's unemployment rate is 6.9 percent. This is the measure of the unemployment rate using the German government's methodology. This methodology treats people who are working part-time but would like full-time employment as being unemployed. That is not how they are treated in the U.S. data. They would simply be counted as employed.

This error is especially egregious because anyone can quickly find Germany's unemployment rate calculated with a methodology that is comparable to the U.S. methodology by going to the OECD's website. There one finds that Germany's unemployment rate in October (the most recent data available) was 5.4 percent.

There is no excuse for a news story to ever report the German government's measure of unemployment without explaining the difference in methodology. This badly misleads readers about the state of the German labor market.