Monday, April 10, 2006

French youth unemployment - only 8%

Yet again we got a false impression of the real level of unemployment of French youth, this time from Channel 4 news, one of the better sources usually, but it said that it was much higher in France than in most European countries. The NYT, discussing the demise of the CPE today, yet again trotted out the old 23% figure.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that most journalists are lazy and follow the herd. Chomsky points out that you can often find the truth in serious business papers, where business people want the facts, and propaganda can be left to the Daily Mail, etc. In the UK it was the Financial Times which pointed out on March 18th that the rate of unemployment amongst French youth, usually quoted as 22%, was actually 7.8%, similar to the UK.

"YOUTH AT WORK By Simon Briscoe Published: March 18 2006

"The proportion of French youths without work is more in line with other countries than suggested by official figures that put French youth unemployment at more than 22 per cent, compared with 11, 12 and 13 per cent in the UK, US and Germany, writes Simon Briscoe, Statistics Editor.

FT research suggests that 7.8 per cent of under-25s are out of work in France. This is only slightly above 7.4 per cent in the UK and 6.5 per cent in Germany.

The discrepancy reflects the fact that France has a much smaller youth labour force than other countries because a greater proportion go on to higher education after the age of 16, delaying their entry to the labour market."

This was pointed out earlier in Le Monde - but seems to have been widely ignored/missed by UK/US journalists and commentators:

"Less than 8% of French youth unemployed!" by Jerome a Paris Tue Mar 7th,

"I have finally found a graph (courtesy of Le Monde, behind sub. wall) which shows clearly what "youth unemployment" represents.

The above are French statistics for the year 2003-2004, and they go as follows:
60% - at school or university
27% - working (breakdown below)
08% - unemployed
05% - other, not active



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