24 May 2009

U.S. Jobless Rate Likely to Pass Europe’s ~ NYT

That is no longer the case. Unemployment in the United States has risen to European averages, and seems likely to pass them when international data for April is calculated.

“The current economic crisis,” wrote John Schmitt, Hye Jin Rho and Shawn Fremstad of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a research organization in Washington, “has turned the case for the U.S. model almost entirely on its head.”

In March, the American unemployment rate stood at 8.5 percent, the same as the average rate for the first 15 members of the European Union — the countries that were part of the group before it began to expand into Eastern Europe.

Because countries calculate unemployment rates differently, the rates used in the accompanying graph are the harmonized rates calculated by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency. Harmonization does not change the American rate, but does affect some other rates.

Eurostat publishes harmonized rates for the entire European Union and for three countries outside the union, the United States, Japan and Turkey.

In April, the rate in the United States rose to 8.9 percent. When the European figures are compiled, it seems likely that the American rate will be higher for the first time since Eurostat began compiling the numbers in 1993.


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