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Monitoring The Labour Market: A Proposal For A Comprehensive Approach In Official Statistics (Illustrated By Recent Developments In France, Germany And The U.K.)1


  • Angus Maddison


This paper analyses the weakness in labour demand which appeared in 1973–78 in France, Germany, and the U.K. and attempts a comprehensive assessment of it. Hitherto, the situation in labour markets has usually been measured by official figures of the registered unemployed which tend to understate unemployment itself and neglect other dimensions of labour slack, such as reversal of previous migration flows or declines in labour force participation or in working hours which may contain highly significant cyclical movements cushioning unemployment. The report proposes the adoption of a more comprehensive concept for labour market monitoring, along lines already used in the annual reports of the German Institute of Employment Research. Such an approach presents advantages in economic and labour market policy analysis. A simplified form of the proposed monitoring tables is presented in Annex Tables F‐1 to F‐4, G‐1 to G‐4 and U‐1 to U‐4. They can be considered as a potential satellite to existing national accounts. It is also suggested that analysis of the degree to which labour potential is used be conducted on a regular basis. The possibilities of this approach are outlined in considerable detail in Section V and in the annex. The different dimensions of the use‐of‐potential account are summarised in Table 3. The report contains a review of the literature on the full employment rate of unemployment and its components. This is one of the major issues on which a judgement must be made in use‐of‐potential analysis. This review is presented in Section VI of the report. It emerges from the analysis that Germany had the biggest labour slack (8.6 percent of potential) in 1978 though its unemployment rate (3.8 percent of the labour force) was the lowest of the three countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Angus Maddison, 1980. "Monitoring The Labour Market: A Proposal For A Comprehensive Approach In Official Statistics (Illustrated By Recent Developments In France, Germany And The U.K.)1," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 26(2), pages 175-217, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:26:y:1980:i:2:p:175-217
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4991.1980.tb00152.x

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    1. Michael Huberman & Chris Minns, 2005. "Hours of Work in Old and New Worlds: The Long View, 1870-2000," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp95, IIIS.

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