Thursday, April 20, 2006

French Youth Unemployment.. the real number! (again)

What we wrote 10 days ago, that French youth unemployment is not 23% but rather 8% - despite what the media keep repeating over and over again (French and non-French alike) has been once again confirmed by a rather reliable source - the Financial Times. (via Jerome-a-Paris)

If you can't read it well, the bottom reads:
(...) The disparity in the French data reflects the high proportion of that country's young people in full-time education - two thirds. That compares with one-third in the UK and half in Germany.
So while 23% of the young people looking for a job are unemployed, they represent only 8% of the overall youth population.
What is fascinating is that the discussions in France have all focused on the 23% figure. All the pundits, experts, journalists and intellectuals have been using it without great assurance, as a figure taken for granted which does not call for discussion.
As Simon Briscoe, the FT Statistics editor explains it:
It is true that some people do not like statistics as they might undermine their story. I would not say that is the case with my colleagues, of course, but when a number has achieved such status as this 22% figure, it is hard for journalists to break from it
Yes, I suppose it would take too much humbleness!

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