Home > Uncategorized > If the Irish labor force had not declined so much, Irish unemployment might have been 20%

If the Irish labor force had not declined so much, Irish unemployment might have been 20%

Ireland and Greece are experiencing somewhat comparable crises. Though the crises have somewhat different roots, both are characterized by a continuing decline of the number of jobs (by now -15% in Ireland, -22% in Greece), a kind of bank run on the country resulting in a massive decline of the amount of (M-3) money and rapidly increasing government debt. Still, unemployment in Ireland is ‘only’ 14 % and more or less stable, while unemployment in Greece is 27,2 % (January) and still rapidly increasing, a difference which can not be explained by the differences in job losses. Is there another reason? Yes.

The labor force in Greece is at the moment about as large as in 2008 (source: Eurostat), while the Irish labor foce declined considerably. Tinkering a bit with the data shows that about 50% of this decline must have been caused by emigration of the best and the brightest to countries with an own currency and about 50% because people dropped out of the labor force. If all these people had stayed in the labor force, like in Greece, unemployment in Ireland would have been about 20%. The true face of the Eurocrisis. Another aspect of this crisis which is increasingly fragmenting Europe and destroying nations: the number of jobs in Greece keeps getting down (source: Elstat).


  1. ezra abrams
    April 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    If one of your students submitted work with a graph with fancy colored background, and no labels on either axis, would you not take points off ?

    Until rwer.wordpress.com starts doing a better job of editing submissions, it will not be taken seriously

    In the real world, appearences count: people who are neatly dressed, talk in coherent, logical sentances, and spell check [sic] get more attentikon then people with poorly written comments and badly made graphs.

    You guys want to be taken seriously; fine – start acting like grownups.

    • Merijn Knibbe
      April 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      You’re right, the vertical graph should have some kind of label (the years are too obvious to need a label), the background is somewhat fancy. This graph is, however, a direct copy from Elstat, as indicated in the text.

    • April 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Haha. Seriously? Are you new to the academic world? Papers with graphs that have unlabeled axes are very common. Often, the title of the graph and/or the context of the article are sufficient enough for someone with half-a-brain to figure out what it means. Also, this is a blog post, not a treatise.

      As for your out-of-line comment about appearances, just ask all the frizzy-haired Ph.D’s with Corduroys and suede elbow patches about it. Maybe you’re right for your first real job but after that, your work speaks for itself. I once hired an assistant who wore white socks with tanned loafers and a denim jacket to his interview. His work and his intereview were brilliant and I would have missed out if I took your advice.

      By the way, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were being ironic or were in a hurry with words like “sentances” and “attentikon” because I’m a nice guy that hires poorly dressed workers.

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