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US, EU Unemployment Rates Converging

By Matthew Yglesias on May 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

"US, EU Unemployment Rates Converging"

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CEPR observes that America’s days as a bastion of low unemployment seem to be over:

us-eu-ur-figure-2

The authors observe that in recent years “the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other international organizations all praised the U.S. unemployment performance and urged the rest of the world’s rich countries to emulate the ‘flexibility’ of the U.S. model” and that it may be time to re-think this. That said, the couple of European officials I’ve discussed the current economic situation with say that the less-flexible model in their countries should reduce the scope of layoffs during the downturn, but the more flexible US model should lead to a quicker employment rebound. Their way, in other words, looks better in downturns—especially in severe ones—but less good at other times.

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