Freitag, 17. Juli 2009

Unemployment Rates

The FT has an interesting graph showing how unemployment rates have changed compared to a year ago:

Spain: +8.2 percentage points
Ireland: +6.2 percentage points
US: +3.8 percentage points
Japan: +1.2 percentage points
Germany: +0.3 percentage points

Interestingly, the recession has hit hardest in Japan and Germany when measured by "drop in GDP", with Spain and the US seeing much smaller GDP contraction.

However, Spain's unemployment rate has skyrocketed, whereas it has hardly budged in Japan and Germany.

Part of the reason is probably the German Kurzarbeitergeld, and large companies' reluctance to lay off core staff. In contrast, Spain has presumably shed lots of low value-added, low-paid jobs in the construction sector.

Still, it's hard to fathom how there can be such a huge divergence between Germany and Spain.

As for the US, the article mentions that the number of US workers "forced into part-time work for economic reasons" stands at roughly 9 million people, 6 % of the labor force. And 1 in 9 Americans now rely on food stamps.

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