EUROPE: YOUTH AT WORK
By Simon Briscoe, Financial Times
Published: Mar 18, 2006
The proportion of French youths without work is more in line with other countries than suggested by official figures that put French youth unemployment at more than 22 per cent, compared with 11, 12 and 13 per cent in the UK, US and Germany, writes Simon Briscoe, Statistics Editor.
FT research suggests that 7.8 per cent of under-25s are out of work in France. This is only slightly above 7.4 per cent in the UK and 6.5 per cent in Germany.
The discrepancy reflects the fact that France has a much smaller youth labour force than other countries because a greater proportion go on to higher education after the age of 16, delaying their entry to the labour market.
Now, think of how often you've heard the factoid that 1 in 4 French youths is unemployed or whatever, and how rarely you've heard the point made above. I repeat, for emphasis "7.8 per cent of under-25s are out of work in France. This is only slightly above 7.4 per cent in the UK and 6.5 per cent in Germany" (the corresponding number in the US is around 7.4%, as far as I know).
Why is one particular and highly misleading spin on the numbers so widely disseminated? Your guess is as good as mine, but it's weird.