Alec MacGillis profiles the International Labor Comparisons office of the Bureau of Labor Standards, which the Obama administration is proposing to shutter to save $2 million:
Like a scorekeeper for the world, a tiny unit within the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks globalization’s winners and losers, and the results are not always pretty for the United States. Manufacturing jobs here, for example, have fallen faster since 1979 than in Canada, Germany or Japan. Compensation for those jobs dropped here in 2008 but jumped in South Korea and Australia.
Soon, however, Americans may be spared the demoralization in these numbers: The White House wants to shutter the unit that produces them.
Their 2009 chartbook (PDF) is full of interesting charts. One that certainly makes the United States look good is this one, showing staggering rates of long-term unemployment in EU countries (especially Germany) back pre-crisis in 2007. Meet “Persons unemployed one year or longer as a percent of total unemployment, 2007.”
Sweden and Denmark, as ever, look to be in good shape.