OPINION

Statistical say

The recent report by the General Confederation of Greek Labor, showing unemployment at 11 percent – as compared to the official version which is around two percentage points lower – is not the best revelation for a government which is attempting to put a shine on its policies ahead of forthcoming parliamentary elections and to embellish its contribution to critical public sectors. However, the extent to which one can trust the science (some would say the art) of statistics remains questionable. With the right manipulation, statistics can show a glass to be half empty or half full – which is particularly useful when it comes to the major problem of unemployment. And unemployment statistics are the focus of an ongoing dispute between governments and labor unions over who these figures should include. We all know the difference between an unemployed person who has just lost their job and an unemployed youth who is unable to break into the job market after completing his studies. In any case, our country is first in youth unemployment – the worst kind, as young people are the most productive in society – and in long-term joblessness, especially those nearing retirement. There has been a gradual drop in official unemployment figures for Greece, which experts say is larger than the real drop, but it still shows an improvement in the situation.