Soothing the Employment Panic

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!