Last week John did an excellent job of putting recent unemployment numbers in historical perspective. Some market observers seem to be freaking out because joblessness rose from 4.7% to 5%, but they would do well to look around the world for comparison. According to the Guardian, unemployment throughout the Eurozone is “stable at a historic low of 7.2 percent.” So 7.2% for the countries using the euro is a historic low and we’re worried about hitting 5%?
What, you might ask, about the biggest, most industrialized of the European countries – how do they stack up individually? More bad news, I’m afraid: France clocks in at 7.9% and Germany tops even that with an unemployment rate of 8.4%. The Sarkozy government, of course, has announced a plan to slash the unemployment rate by reforming restrictive labor laws and other anti-competitive regulations. Their goal, when the plan is completed in 2012? That’s right – an unemployment rate of 5%. Good luck, mon amis!