Tag Archives: Eurostat


Yes, we are still close to deflation in Europe

Yes, we are still close to deflation in Europe

Germany around 1% in the core inflation, ditto Eurozone average, PIIGS are very close to 0%.

Well, core inflation for Finland and Austria seems to be close to 2% at least.


The Czech Economy That Didn’t Bounce?

The Czech Economy That Didn’t Bounce?

Another excellent post by Edward Hugh. I hope one day to attain this level of sophistication of analysis! The post discusses the Czech republic at its core, but broadens the view to the Japanese economy and the fate of supposedly core countries Finland and the Netherlands, topped with the issue Hugh drives all the time: demographic change and the economy.

A quick one: Employment in the EU

I just browsed through my Eurostat rss-feed and I came across this press release from the 14th of June. The first picture in that press release should be familiar from this post by Paul Krugman. But the next picture is maybe worrying in its own right, because look at where Finland and the Netherlands are! Indeed, on the declining side of employment. Not good. How can you be a Serious Core Country when your employment is going down?


“Europe in Depression”

“Europe in Depression”

The graph in this Paul Krugman post really, really should give policy makers in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Brussels, Frankfurt and elsewhere in Europe very much food for thought.

Unemployment in Finland and the Netherlands, 2012-2013

This time just a picture, based on this Eurostat newsflash. For both Finland and the Netherlands, unemployment is ticking upwards. Rather quickly for the Netherlands indeed. And the youth unemployment in Finland is nearly at 20%, and has been for quite some time.

Unemployment in Finland and the Netherlands

Anyone still convinced this austerity is a good policy? I will get back with some thoughts about a recent post by Ambrose Pritchard-Evans about Dutch debt-bubbles, which I referred to some time ago.

Associated Press garbles interpretation of Eurostat data

First, the news release (via NY Times/AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Official figures show the austerity medicine pursued across a number of European countries is working, at least when it comes to reducing annual borrowing levels.

Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, says Monday that the cumulative level of government deficits across the 17 EU countries that use the euro dropped in 2012 to around 353 billion euros ($460 billion) from 391 billion the year before.

As a result, the budget deficit of the whole eurozone fell to 3.7 percent of the region’s annual gross domestic from 4.2 percent in 2011.

Though the spending cuts and tax increases are helping to reduce deficits, the eurozone’s debt burden rose because economic growth has flat-lined. In 2012, eurozone debt was worth 90.6 percent of the region’s annual GDP, up from 87.3 percent.

What doesn’t match here??? Well, almost everything. It is kind of ridiculous to claim austerity works because on the aggregate level budget deficit levels are shrinking. This is a basic logical fallacy. Austerity is a policy which inflicted to individual states, and since there are also states that still grow, there is less need to spend (or borrow) for governments. Case in point: extreme austerity in Greece is not doing much in reducing budget deficit OR total government debt. Same for Spain. Similarly, Estonia, which has seen quite good growth over the last year at least, has seen a budget surplus slide into a deficit. LAtvia, which does a lot of catching up after a dramatic plunge in GDP, sees some shrinking budget deficit but not much total government debt reduction (but lots of people voted with their feet and left). Finland has a shrinking economy, but also a shrinking budget deficit and an increasing total debt burden. And we are now not even talking about the effects on the economy of austerity, especially in terms of unemployment.

It is totally meaningless to say that austerity works in reducing annual borrowing levels, because this aggregate doesn’t have any impact on policy anywhere (although Rehn & Co probably see this as a vindication after the failure of R-R.) Furthermore, nowhere is the institutional difference between countries acknowledged regarding the welfare state (i.e. limits on unemployment benefits etc).

Olli Rehn, katso Eurostatin tilastoja!

Tälläinen viesti Olli Rehniltä tällä kertaa – ‘Hänestä myös palkkakehitys on vuodesta 2007 tai 2008 alkaen lähinnä nakertanut kilpailukykyä.’ -> Eurostatin datan mukaan 2005 tasoon verrattuna 2007 ja 2008 Real Unit Labour Costs olivat hieman matalampia kuin 2005. Vuonna 2009 ne olivat taas korkeampia, mutta sen jälkeen on tullut taas hieman alamäki siinä. On tämä taso kuitenkin hieman korkeampi kuin Saksan.

Toivoisin että hän alkaisi puhua järkeä joskus. Tämän eurostatin tilastotiedotteen mukaan Suomen palkkataso (jossa otetaan mukaan myös muut kustannukset kuin palkat) ei ole kovin paljon (0.4 prosenttiyksikköä) korkeampaa kuin Saksan. Ja jos verrataan pelkästään palkat, taso on kyllä matalampi kuin Saksan.  Ruotsin ja Alankomaiden palkkatasot ovat paljon korkeampia. Sen lisäksi ei ole pelkästään relevantti, mikä palkkataso on, koska on myös sellainen asia kuin työn tuottavuus. Siinä Suomi on melkein samalla tasolla kuin Saksa, ja myös ‘kovapalkkainen maa’ Tanska on kovasti mukana.Labourprod






Voi tietenkin olla, että suomalaiset eivät tuota mitä halutaan muualla, mutta ei se liity siinä mielessä palkkoihin sitten. Ne toiset asiat jotka Rehn mainitsee voivat olla totta, mutta Suomi ei ole sinänsä kovapalkkainen maa. Ei sen enempää kuin Saksaa ja vähemmän kuin naapuri Ruotsi ja Alankomaat.