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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The NYT Can't Find Germany's Unemployment Rate

The NYT Can't Find Germany's Unemployment Rate

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.

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by Chris Engel, January 12, 2013 9:44
It looks like it's a Reuters story (although edited by the Times I think) from a report that came out from the German Labor Office (which explains why they used the government not internationally-standardized figure)

...but the NY Times could have at least put the figure in context considering the predominately American audience.
written by watermelonpunch, January 13, 2013 5:38
Is there any data as to what the U.S. unemployment rate would be if measured by Germany's methodology?

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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.