Eurozone Unemployment

Simone Foxman at Quartz wrote an article yesterday about the unemployment rates of tech workers vs non-tech workers across Europe:

non tech and science vs tech and science unemployment euro zone countries

Foxman offers a couple of possible explanations for the discrepancy between northern and southern European countries:

These data could suggest that Greek and Portuguese science and tech workers don’t have the same kind of training as northern European workers in their field. It could also be that southern European countries don’t offer the same incentives to engineering or science firms looking to do business there.

I’ve been mulling this over for the last day, because neither of those explanations really fit with my understanding of unemployment in southern Europe…then I saw this article from Roberto Ferdman today:

Spain’s illicit economy—all that is unaccounted for because it’s illegal or unreported—is worth an unseemly 20% of the country’s GDP, according to a new report by Spain’s Foundation for Financial Studies (FEF). That’s higher than every other country in the European Union except Italy, with 21%.

Illicit activity, while technically illegal, doesn’t necessarily mean drug-related or violent. Much of Spain’s unreported business is due to labor law and tax circumvention, which varies widely from industry to industry. Some sectors are relatively clean, like Spain’s financial industry, where the rate of illegal activity is believed to hover below 10%; others are ridden with messy, unreported business, like the country’s construction industry—Spain’s most flagrant offender—whose rate clocks in at 35%.

So, maybe Spain and Portugal don’t have incredibly different rates of unemployment for tech workers and non-tech workers; maybe its just that the reported rates of employment for these two groups of workers are very different!


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