Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greek Corrective

To read the papers, it would appear that just about everybody in Greece is working for the public sector. I found some numbers for Greek public sector employment on the Philip Atticus’ blog (here) for 2011, citing ELSTAT, the country’s National Statistics Organisation. According to these numbers, public sector employment in Greece was 18 percent of the total workforce—which compares to 16.6 percent for the United States in 2011, taking December 2011 as the benchmark. Not all that different.

I made efforts to look at other sources of data as well. One is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD presents data for the period 1993 through 2009, identifying one category as “Public Administration and Defense”; that category, much like the equivalent U.S. data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excludes the armed forces. The numbers I found (link, p. 158) are significantly lower than those cited by Atticus: In 1993 public sector employment was 7.2 percent of the total labor force, in 2009 8.6 percent.

In any case, the Greek economy looks quite similar to others in the developed sector. Agriculture represents 12 percent of total employment, which is fairly high (and compares to our own at 1.6%), industry at 20 percent (30.1% in our case), and services at 68 percent (68.3% in the United States).

I tried to find confirming data on ELSTAT myself, but the site is all in Greek—and Google’s translation service failed me when I had penetrated down to the really substantive statistical presentations.  

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