Europe: Unemployment

Randy Black asks: Would a WAISer please explain to me the difference between the terms unemployment and structural unemployment?  As I look at Europe, I note that while Spain has a pretty high unemployment rate, approximately 10.6 percent, Germany at 11.4 percent is in the same boat, with France, at nearly 10 percent unemployed running in third place.  When will the peoples of those nations come to their senses regarding labor reforms? Recently the French held protests because the nation’s leaders wanted the French workers to “voluntarily” agree to work more than a 35 hour week, considered the birthright of French peoples. And the word from Germany is that workers make so much on welfare/unemployment benefits that you couldn’t drag many to a new job with a tow truck.  Britain was faced with similar problems in the 1970s, when unemployment benefits paid those souls so much that many refused to take jobs. Fortunately, the worm turned and today Britain’s unemployment rate is about what it is in the USA: 5.2 percent. I note that Germany is taking the lead that Swiss authorities instituted forty years ago whereby long-term unemployed are required to clean parks and public buildings in order to EARN their unemployment check. Will someone explain why unemployment rates are so high across Europe when just the opposite was long ago predicted as a result of the formation of the EU?

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: February 27, 2005