Wednesday, 17 July 2013

From zeroes to heroes: the OECD gets its online presence right

Used to be, the OECD's website was one of the most user-hostile around. Finding anything with the help of its alleged search engine was hopeless.

And now look at it. It's improved so much, that it's actually provided me with one of the best bits of data presentation I've seen in a long time.

I was looking up its summary of its latest Employment Outlook 2013 - which is just as grim as you'd expect - and at the bottom of the page I found a magnificent and interactive way of showing overall unemployment, youth unemployment, long-term unemployment and the age structure of employment.
The gizmo loads the overall OECD data for each variable, and you can then choose whatever countries you like to compare with it. I picked youth unemployment as the variable, and New Zealand as the comparator country. The result looked like this. Answer: we're about par for the course.


Have a play with it. If you didn't know already, some of the numbers (eg for Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal) will make you realise just why the austerity protesters are so infuriated.

Though that's only part of the story. Labour market over-regulation  in some countries benefit a privileged 'insider' group, on permanent contracts that are hard to terminate. The impact of austerity (or other economic setbacks) consequently falls on the less privileged, particularly the young, who at best get short-term employment contracts. As the accompanying country report on France points out, for example, in 2011 78% of all hirings and 71% of all firings were of people on short-term contracts.

The somewhat paradoxical outcome is that a country like the US, with effectively a 'fire at will' employment regime, has lower overall and lower youth unemployment than a country like France which supposedly 'protects' employees.

1 comment:

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