European jobless rates look lower when adjusted to U.S. concepts

July 31, 2000

Comparative unemployment rates are an important measure of U.S. economic performance relative to other countries. Adjustment to common labor force concepts makes for a more meaningful unemployment rate comparison.

Unemployment rates in the European Union, reported and adjusted to U.S. concepts, spring 1998 (Percent)
[Chart data—TXT]

In 1998, for example, the U.S. rate was 4.5 percent, Canada’s was 8.3 percent, and the rate for the European union was 9.9 percent. Adjusting some of these statistics to more closely match U.S. labor force concepts reduces the gap, however.

In the spring of 1998, the reported rate of 12.1 percent in France, for example, adjusts to 11.4 percent. Similarly, the rate for Italy adjusts from 12.4 percent to 11.7 percent. Even after the adjustments, as these numbers suggest, the unemployment rate in the European Union was quite a bit higher than in the United States.

Unemployment rate comparisons are produced by the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. Learn more about adjusting unemployment statistics to U.S. labor force concepts in "International unemployment rates: how comparable are they?" by Constance Sorrentino in Monthly Labor Review, June 2000.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, European jobless rates look lower when adjusted to U.S. concepts on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2000/jul/wk5/art01.htm (visited August 29, 2016).

OF INTEREST

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.