Germans celebrate 8.6% unemployment

posted at 10:45 am on February 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

While Democrats fan out to talk about the misery of our economy and how the government has to do more to control it, the news out of Europe seems brighter. The Germans and their more-controlled economy has begun improving. In fact, their unemployment rate has dropped all the way to 8.6%:

Germany’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent in February as a relatively mild winter added to momentum from the country’s economic upswing, government figures showed Thursday.The number of people without a job in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell 42,000 from January to 3.617 million, and 630,000 lower than in February last year, the Federal Labor Agency said.

The unadjusted jobless rate was down from 8.7 percent in January. Last February, that rate was 10.1 percent.

“Unemployment continues to fall,” Labor Agency chief Frank-Juergen Weise said. “Companies’ demand for labor remains at a very high level.”

The bad news? The improvement is likely overstated, according to a UniCredit economist in Munich. The German government’s short-term winter benefit for construction workers masked what will soon become a significant drop in work. Major companies plan cuts as they foresee a cooling economy, although the government insists that unemployment will continue to decline.

Europe, with its heavy-handed economic regulation, struggles to keep itself out of Jimmy Carter-era unemployment. They celebrate 8.6% unemployment. Meanwhile, the Democrats claim that 5% unemployment here requires the exact same kind of solutions that brought Germany their current economic “success”.

Lest anyone think that this problem is confined to Germany, take a look at this report from last February. The “Eurozone” celebrated its best unemployment rate ever — at 7.4%. Three weeks ago, they announced a further improvement — to 7.2%. Either of these numbers would have Americans screaming in the streets for new leadership, and yet those who claim to represent that new leadership want to take the US down the same statist path where 7.2% is a “record low”.

We need market solutions, not government-controlled economic plans that send capital to Capitol Hill instead of the engines of economic growth. We don’t need to duplicate the European debacle.


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If a Dim takes the WH I’m afraid this will be our future.

Erockk on February 28, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Dang!! Are they going to cut on the Mercedes too?

Indy Conservative on February 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Germany’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.6 percent in February as a relatively mild winter added to momentum from the country’s economic upswing,

See I told you Global Warming was bad, bad, bad

tmitsss on February 28, 2008 at 10:50 AM

But for libs, it’s intentions that matter. Results are never talked about.

thekingtut on February 28, 2008 at 10:50 AM

We have the $50/hr lettuce picking though. We are lucky.

hanzblinx on February 28, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Germans are interesting. But then most of Europe is. Americans, I have come to the conclussion from first hand experience and watching the europeans, are harder working then Europeans in all aspects.

Getting a standard phone line there can take over 3 weeks, and that is the norm. They only work 7.5 hours a day (if that) and nothing over 40. Even if they make more in Europe compared to Americans, they are dooming themselves becuase who wants to pay a waitress or waiter 20 dollars an hour? Americans (and it is true in most businesses) pay via hard work, unless you are union. Europeans pay more like aunion, even if they aren’t in a union.

Besides, I am still in shock over the gasoline there at 2.85 a liter compared to our 3.00 a gallon (depending). I don’t complain about filling up much.

upinak on February 28, 2008 at 11:03 AM

I was worried when Bryan left. Not anymore.

I am so happy to have you on board, Ed.

amkun on February 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

See I told you Global Warming was bad, bad, bad

tmitsss on February 28, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Didn’t you get the message? It’s global cooling now (or again).

Rick on February 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Can’t wait for the idolizing of truckers through country songs and movies like we did in the mid to late 70s. We’ll get to see remakes of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Convoy” and others.

Ah yes. Let’s bring back the Misery Index and the Carter years part II.

BowHuntingTexas on February 28, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Sure, it’s unemployment, but at least with the government overseeing things it must be “fair” unemployment. You wouldn’t want the market to just let people have “unfair” jobs, would you? That wouldn’t be plusgood.

Blacklake on February 28, 2008 at 11:06 AM

You know, every single time I see Jimmy Carter’s kisser, I keep wondering what the hell was going through people’s skulls back then that they elected this yoohoo to the Presidency. But then again, I am now wondering the exact same thing as related to B.O.

pilamaye on February 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

I stll think Carter was the “national malaise”.

exparatroop on February 28, 2008 at 11:10 AM

exparatroop on February 28, 2008 at 11:10 AM

It very well could have been the national malaise as well. It was the highest in 1980 (Carter years).

The Misery Index by year.

BowHuntingTexas on February 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM

But then again, I am now wondering the exact same thing as related to B.O.
pilamaye on February 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Hmmm… I wish someone would ask McAmnesty what’s worse, calling him B.O. or B.H.O.

Akzed on February 28, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Warning! This has been ticking me off for months, so I am venting.

Regrettably, it’s much too late for anything to avert a really nasty recession.

But that doesn’t stop the current administration or candidates running for election from trying.

People on both sides of the aisle are pushing the gov’t to buy distressed mortgages to help people stay in their homes and avert foreclosure.

IDIOTS!!!!

These people bought homes that were priced too high using loans they couldn’t repay and now want everyone else to pickup the tab.

And the National Association of Realtors is still pushing homes as investments and these are the folks that have been telling us home values always go up while pushing Freddie and Fannie to fund even bigger loans so that home prices can be “stabilized.”

Call it Socialism in action.

All of which misses the other developing problems – mortgage rates are going up even though the Fed lowered it’s rate. Why? Because the entire banking sector is effectively insolvent, and is desperately trying to string things out long enough for future profits to cover current losses.

Fat chance of that.

All of which is diminishing U.S. credit and credibility. Face it, we are a much poorer nation than we pretend to be. Hasn’t anyone noticed an enormous deficit, a monthly outflowing of wealth and the fact that consumers’ idea of a rainy day fund is the available credit on the Visa card that isn’t maxed out yet?

As a nation, we drastically need a wake up call and honest candid discussion of our challenges, not quick fixes like a borrowed tax “rebate” going to people who don’t pay taxes.

Comptroller David Walker shouldn’t be allowed to retire, but a lot of others should be forced to resign. That includes most of Congress, Bernanke, and SecTreas Paulson.

Makes me want to sing Gilbert & Sullivan:

“As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!”

olddeadmeat on February 28, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Perhaps Iraq’s 50% unemployment rate explains why Iraqis are “screaming in the streets for new leadership?”

alphie on February 28, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Their economy is going to continue to get worse as their currency gets more valuable. They won’t be able to sell as many exports to the consumer juggernaut USA.

This is a great post showing the difference between economies. 5% is full employment. Things are not perfect in this economy, but it isn’t so bad that the government is the solution (I don’t think it would ever be that bad). The solution is the American people. . . not the government.

Thanks for the post.

ThackerAgency on February 28, 2008 at 11:40 AM

I always get a chuckle from Germany, they have horrible taxes, high unemployment and when I ask my Sis who lives there about the large number of middle easterners in Europe she is adamant that they need them, who will wash and paint and do all the other service jobs.

You! I tell her. She doesn’t like it.

Speakup on February 28, 2008 at 11:44 AM

If a Dim takes the WH I’m afraid this will be our future.

Erockk on February 28, 2008 at 10:48 AM

But, but, but, they’ve got high hopes, they’ve got high hopes…they’ve got high apple pie in the sky hopes!

ihasurnominashun on February 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM

What constitutes “full employment”, according to the MSM, is heavily dependent on whether they like the person in the Oval Office or not.

In 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for re-election, the then 6% (average) unemployment rate was considered OK, on the grounds that it meant there was “a reserve of workers ready to be retrained for new jobs” (quote from Robert Reich, then-Treasury Secretary). And the MSM applauded him, and Clinton, for their “foresight” and for “keeping the economy from becoming overheated”. By comparison, in 2004, when we averaged 4.75% unemployment, the very same MSM (principally the Washington Post and the New York Times were busy excoriating the Bush Administration for “not doing more to ensure full employment“.

So who was right?

Actually, both administrations were. (I know- I just agreed with the Clintonistas, so H**l will freeze over any minute now.) An average of 5-6% of the workforce uncommitted (i.e., available) has always been considered optimum in event of new industries opening up or increases in demands for production/services from existing ones. By those lights, our present situation is “just about right”, and 2004 we were a little low in the “ready workers” department. Reich and the MSM were perfectly right in saying in 1996 that 5-6% unemployment was OK for those reasons.

Which makes their present criticism of the present unemployment rate not only transparently political, but also lacking in any sort of even theoretical justification by their own preferred theories of macroeconomics.

Therefore, since they have now proven that they are perfectly willing to contradict themselves for political gain, we are now perfectly justified in asking them,

“So, which time were you lying, 1996, 2004- or today?”

Or just ignoring everything they say henceforth, on the working assumption that it will be a lie. Because they have proven that they regard that as a legitimate method of delivering the “news”.

cheers

eon

eon on February 28, 2008 at 12:07 PM

You know, every single time I see Jimmy Carter’s kisser, I keep wondering what the hell was going through people’s skulls back then that they elected this yoohoo to the Presidency. But then again, I am now wondering the exact same thing as related to B.O.

pilamaye on February 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Deja vu? Rightly so. Jimmy’s campaign slogan was,

“A leader, for a change!”

Sound familiar? The end result will be, too.

EHeavenlyGads on February 28, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Europe has always thought of us as those stupid Americans, but we have lower taxes and unemployment. Not to mention we work harder at making the world a better place to live. I’m proud to be a stupid American.

limowilliam on February 28, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Unemployment is 2.1% here in Norway. I’m not sure what that means, other than the fact that Norway is rich as hell and can employ people to do meaningless crap.

Seixon on February 28, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Carter we elected from the MSM and liberal congress amplified outrage against Nixon.

Not that Nixon didn’t deserve a ration of crap, he did but of course the same despicable liberalism went berserk then as now without alternative media to counter the insanity.

Nixon was a genius but Goldwater would have been better.

Speakup on February 28, 2008 at 12:35 PM

7.2% unemployment in the United States would have this country in an asbolute panic. And that’s their lowest rate…to them, that’s pretty decent. That’s almost 1 out of every 10 people unemployed. Good Lord. We have almost full employment in this country and that is because of a strong free market, even though the Democrats are determined to interfere with it. And unfortunately it will turn the U.S. into a third-rate nation. Socialism is a mortal blow to the free market. The market is what creates wealth and capital to build and expand and grow, and government control completely prevents that.

mattyj86 on February 28, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Europeans call us stupid for a reason and they are right. We spend billions of dollars on defense and their asses are covered for 0 dollars invested. We ask them to help us out and they stick their tongues out at us and stick their thumbs in their ears and flap their hands.

What would happen to the economy of Germany if we pulled all of our troops out of Germany? You can say the same for any other country where we are stationed.

cjs1943 on February 28, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Unfortunately we can’t gloat much over this. It’s a bit like touting our “low” domestic inflation using the Clintonized official CPI numbers which subtract food, fuel and abandon all common sense. The best measure of U.S. unemployment is the broader U-6 category, esp whenever making comparisons to other nations’ data.

More details and a 2008 projection here:

In order to keep the “official” unemployment rates low, the folks at the BLS dreamed up new categories of workers such as “marginally attached”.

Classification U-6 is how unemployment actually feels to the average Joe on the street. On a seasonally unadjusted basis, that figure is close to 10%.

By the time the reported unemployment numbers get to 6.5% or higher, I am looking for line U-6 to head towards 14%

The recession of 2008 is going to be both long and nasty. In order to shore up falling profits as consumer spending declines, look for increasing numbers of mass layoffs in 2008.

A handy chart here too.

The best site for correct economic data, Shadowstats, has an additional explanation in this example from 2004.

The popularly followed unemployment rate was 5.5% in July 2004, seasonally adjusted. That is known as U-3, one of six unemployment rates published by the BLS. The broadest U-6 measure was 9.5%, including discouraged and marginally attached workers.

Up until the Clinton administration, a discouraged worker was one who was willing, able and ready to work but had given up looking because there were no jobs to be had. The Clinton administration dismissed to the non-reporting netherworld about five million discouraged workers who had been so categorized for more than a year. As of July 2004, the less-than-a-year discouraged workers total 504,000. Adding in the netherworld takes the unemployment rate up to about 12.5%.

econavenger on February 28, 2008 at 12:52 PM

If a Dim takes the WH I’m afraid this will be our future.

Erockk on February 28, 2008 at 10:48 AM

They do keep preaching about change but won’t say exactly what. Maybe this is what they really mean.

Mutt on February 28, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Right, 1 out of every 9 people is unemployed. I knew it was those breadlines slowing down my commute.

Techie on February 28, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Her’s a question, How many of the europesn countries have paid off their WW II debt to us? I’m guessing not many.

limowilliam on February 28, 2008 at 1:15 PM

“… who will wash and paint and do all the other service jobs. You! I tell her. She doesn’t like it.” – Speakup

Amazing, isn’t it? This dude I was working with last week said “I know how to work the system, I pick up a flight that I know will have bad weather delays, then pick up another flight for the next day, the first trip will be so late because of the weather that the company will hafta pay me overtime for the next day’s trip.” Clever, in a sneaky sort of way. But then he says “I just can’t understand why out Profitsharing is going down.” Duh.

Tony737 on February 28, 2008 at 1:21 PM

But for libs, it’s intentions that matter. Results are never talked about.
-thekingtut on February 28, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Unless of course it’s your liberal OPPONENT’S results, such NAFTA

Shirotayama on February 28, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Hi Ed… just leaving a comment here for the purposes of registration. Good luck with the new endeavor.

lexhamfox on February 28, 2008 at 1:54 PM

The “Eurozone” celebrated its best unemployment rate ever — at 7.4%. Three weeks ago, they announced a further improvement — to 7.2%

This post is misleading as it creates the impression that most EU countries are around 7-8% unemployment. In fact
7.2% is simply the mean average of an index of 27 countries. There are three categories of EU countries to consider:

1. Countries with open economies at around 4% unemployment i.e. the UK, Ireland, Holland Luxembourg, Austria etc.

2. Countries with said heavy-handed economic regulation typically at around 8-10% unemployment i.e. France, Germany, Spain, Greece etc.

3. Countries with astronomical unemployment sometimes 15-20%, usually poor East European states still recovering from 50 years of Communism i.e. Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia etc.

aengus on February 28, 2008 at 2:00 PM

What I’d like to know is, what will Euro industry as a whole do if/when the Russians decide to close the spigots (aside from the obvious “whatever Brussels lets them”)?

Blacksmith on February 28, 2008 at 2:25 PM

See I told you Global Warming was bad, bad, bad

tmitsss on February 28, 2008 at 10:50 AM
Didn’t you get the message? It’s global cooling now (or again).

Rick on February 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM

No. They call it climate change now. That way it does not matter. They are always right.

SIJ6141 on February 28, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Democrats complain about the 5% unemployment rate here in the US, but also claim we need all those millions of “undocumented workers” – illegal aliens – from Mexico to fill jobs here.

Sounds like a contradiction to me.

fdcol63 on February 28, 2008 at 4:42 PM

The unification of Germany brought millions of relatively under-educated, under-skilled un-employed workers from the communist utopia of East-Germany. They are still working through this problem. Neuveaux marxists take note…

Nozzle on February 28, 2008 at 5:17 PM

“Unemployment” in Western Europe only means
“getting lavish government handouts for going to the cafe and bitching about the Americans”, not what it means in America: “looking seriously for your next job”.

They could have double this “unemployment” and it wouldn’t bother the “unemployed”.

profitsbeard on February 28, 2008 at 8:28 PM

Hi Ed,

Just want to you to know I managed to get registered today. I remember the JC economy in the 70′s. While they were trying to teach me Kaynes economics at Purdue (you can’t have recession and inflation at the same time), we had 17% home mortgages, 15% inflation, and double digit unemployment. That cured me of EVER voting for a Democrat for President again.

karenhasfreedom on February 28, 2008 at 8:39 PM