Unemployment is another non-stat

I am sure it is too tin hat to suggest that unemployment figures are used to be deliberately misleading but there are so many better measures that countries don’t use it sometimes makes me wonder.

So Ireland’s unemployment rate is 5.4%. 5.4% of what? How does that compare to UK’s 5.2% which everyone knows is skewed because they remove so many people from their measure through various means. How does it compare with Germany’s 7.9% from the Federal Labour Office when the International Labor Organization consistently reports German unemployment to be ~1% less than that.

How hard would it be for the CSO or their equivalent to publish a Dependency Ratio with unemployed people taken as dependant. Something as simple as ** number of employed people / total population** or even better just publish both figures and let the public make of it what they will.

No seasonal adjustment, no exclusion of long term unemployed or disabled. no people changing jobs, no allowance for structural unemployment etc. etc.
Just very simply the number of people working (and paying tax) and number of people who are not.

In much the same way that profits reported by companies in different countries can mean different things, there is some attempt to use consistent conventions.

For unemployment there are the ILO (Intenational Labour Organistion) conventions that describe who is or is not unemployed. And don’t forget that these tend to be economic definitions.

see here:


Thanks Gekko, I referred to ILO in my post but UK always headline with Claimant Count not ILO I don’t know what Germany use but it is always higher. I don;t even know what do we use?

But this is only a part of my argument as unemployment still doesn’t really give you much of an indication of at a Macro level, what if in Germany all people of working age are working but there are 50% of people over 65 and another 10% below 18… 100% unemployment but I wouldn’t want to bet that the economy is stable.

For those of us bothered to read about economics we are well aware of the coming annihilation of old western economies because of this, but while we tend towards this unemployment will continue to tick down so the sheeple will be happy.

I don’t know what Germany uses either. But I do know that they changed their measurement in 2005/2006 as part of their “Hartz IV” labour reforms. Lots of people who were previously considered as “not available/suitable for employment”, and receiving “social help”, were moved in to the mainstream and given “unemployment money” instead. This resulted in their unemployment rate increasing by about 1% overnight.


The Live register report published today includes the 5.4% standardised unemployment rate. The report describes this as follows:

Page 11.

Now the SUR is not the “official” unemployment rate, that comes out in the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS).

As for comparison with other EU memebers, see here for April

Hope that helps

Blue Horseshoe

Interesting EU table, seems Ireland has bucked the trend of lowering unemployment.

Estonia and Hungary are our only pals out of the 27 where the rate has gone up in a year, small amounts but it still went up!