Friday, June 3, 2011
We last looked at these countries last December; the graph above gives an update with data through April 2011 in most cases (from Eurostat).
As you can see, Germany is absolutely thriving, with unemployment lower than it's been in a decade. France and Italy are not great but not terrible: unemployment is not too high, and it's falling. Spain, Ireland, Greece, and Portugal are all in dreadful shape - unemployment is very high, and either clearly still rising (Greece), or at best uncertain as to whether recovery has really set in firmly (Ireland).
Here, I basically buy the storyline of American critics of the Euro - these economies shouldn't be tied together by a common monetary policy and a common exchange rate. The needs of the German economy and the Spanish economy right now couldn't be more different.