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Statistics, the best way to lie.

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Unemployed people

This week, listening to the news of the French Belgian radio (RTBF), I heard a new about a pessimistic forecast about the unemployment in Belgium for 2010. Following a study led by Philippe Defeyt, economist and member of the board of directors of the IDR – Institut pour un développement durable (Sustainable development institute), the unemployment rate in Belgium should reach a historical level in 2010 compare to 1970, with a rate of 14,6% of the working population, representing a number of 750.000 unemployed people.

The IDR analyzed few macroeconomics variables from 1970 until now. If the number of jobs increased of 17% compared to 1970, the total number of working hours done by this working power is lower compare to the number in 1970 (less 5% in 2010 compare to 1970). During 31 years, the working population increased of 1,3 million of people, but the available jobs increased only of 650.000 units, it means only the mid of what should be necessary to give a job to everybody.

These are few elements included in the study. But what was amazing, is the reaction of the minister of employment, Joëlle Milquet about the figures related to the unemployment forecast. She told that these figures were totally overestimated, giving a worse picture of the situation. Really ?

Here is the question about the definition of an unemployed people. Following the minister of employment, the definition of unemployed people includes the workless people looking for a new job. It means that the unemployed people who are 58 -60 years but not looking for a job because considered as too old, are not taken into account.  Following Philippe Defeyt, the two categories are included in the statistics, as they are facing the same problems when they are looking to their bank account at the end of the month.

It is a bit difficult to understand why a category of unemployed people are not taken into account by the statistics of the government, when such government includes political parties defending social values, and when they are claiming to develop social politics to decrease the poverty. Belgian is one of the countries where the rate of unemployed 50-60 years old people is the lowest. It is totally senseless to ignore such people from official statistics.

By reading this, I remember my studies, where one of my professor of statistics defining statistics as ‘the Best way to lie”.

Institut pour un développement durable –

 (Picture source :×300.jpg)


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

January 6, 2010 at 23:27

Posted in Economy

Tagged with , , , ,

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