Does the NYT Fear Bill Gates' Looming Unemployment?

In an article on the victory of the conservatives in Sweden's election, the NYT repeated their assertion that Sweden's official 5.7 percent unemployment rate would jump to 21 percent if "early retirees, people in job-training and those on long-term disability" were included. The same charge appeared the previous day.

It is not clear what this 21 percent measure means. In the United States, the vast majority of people stop working before age 65. Would the conservative's measure include all these people, including Bill Gates, who is about to step down from his position at Microsoft, as being unemployed?

As I noted yesterday, there are internationally comparable measures of employment and unemployment available from the OECD. These data show that Sweden has higher employment rates than the United States by almost any measure. It would be helpful if the Times would try to use data that readers could interpret in a meaningful way.

-- Dean Baker

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