Two out of three ain’t bad

I’ve written about The Economist’s Jeremy Cliffe before. Here he is again:


It’s good to know that mass immigration policies are considered a success if 35% of newcomers are in work. Presumably taxpayers are happy to support the remaining 65% who can be found lolling around street corners, shopping centres, and cafes during the day. And I have a feeling the working behind that €35 billion number might reveal an assumption or two which would cause a belly laugh in this parish. As one of my Finnish readers points out:


I bet Cliffe didn’t even know that; his job is to propagandise, not inform.

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19 thoughts on “Two out of three ain’t bad

  1. Does that figure include immigrants who aren’t refugees? I know a couple of Brits who have moved to Germany. Plenty of other EU nationals live there too.

  2. I liked Andrew Neil’s recent dismissal of Cliffe – “by the way, your last column was shit”. Which it was even by the very low recent standard.

  3. @”Andrew M”
    I would assume that they mix all immigrants together to make the refugees look better.
    I can’t believe that they think these figures are good they are rubbish

  4. 2011-16 migrants added €35 billion to the German economy

    Lies, damned lies & etc…

    Is that 35bn net or gross, how much did immigrants cost the taxpayer?
    How much did ex-EU immigrants add to the economy?
    What do immigrants add in terms of GDP per capita? If you increase the population by millions, GDP is bound to rise, doesn’t mean a thing.

    The Economist is full of shit. And riddled with inaccuracies.

  5. So it’s looking like 35% in work actually means, in reality, about 3.5% in work. (Unless you count hanging around street corners and spitting a lot as work.)

    But that will also be a success, as it’ll be up from 1.5%

  6. I wonder why, if immigration is such an unalloyed good, the German government is pressuring other countries to take their “fair share”. Shouldn’t they be glad to have all the immigrants, and hence all of the benefits, concentrated in their country, whilst snickering at the other states for missing out on this golden opportunity?

  7. If they’re claiming 35% “Beschäftigung” as a success, I’d hate to see what their definition of a failure looks like…

  8. Note that these figures are just refugees not all immigrants. I’m a bit doubtful about the language numbers, they are self reported which the report claims is in line with the assessment of the interviewer. But I find it difficult to believe that 33% of new arrivals have good or very good language skills (composite of reading, writing and speaking). The claim is that 48% of arrivals from 2014 have good or very good language skills. One issue is that I cannot find a definition for these good or very good categories.

    I speak a couple of languages well enough so that I could work as a translator and I can get by in another. To get to a level that I would describe as competent professionally is very hard, if their definition is “very good” in terms of having a daily living conversation, I can see their numbers might be possible, but in terms of skilled occupations, I suspect that the percentage able to speak German is probably (well) under 10%. Enough German to perhaps hold down a Mcjob might be as high as 33%, but I doubt it.

  9. Just a quick contrarian point: lots of UK lefties have reacted to record UK employment figures by saying, ” Yeah, but only because someone working 1 hour a fortnight counts as employed”. You point out that fulltime employment is at record levels and they return to the hour a fortnight. You point out that that is clearly the lower bound of employment, not of full-time employment and they say well with that level for employment, the Tory fulltime statistic is probably 6 hours a week. The fact that the stats are prepared by the ONS and not the Tory party seems lost on them. Even pointing them at the statistical tables showing that the numbers of people working less than 6 hours or less than 16 hrs a week have been essential unchanged for the last 20 years and the biggest increase in jobs has come in the working between 31 and 45 hours a week category still leaves them claiming you are defending a definition of full time employment starting at an hour a fortnight…

    Ahem. Not that I’ve had that your argument in the last week.

    All I’m saying is while knowing the lower bound of a statistical category is useful while trying to work out what weight to give it, it is wise to see if there’s more detail available before dismissing the claim it is supporting it off hand.

  10. First of all Merkel imposed a two-year quarantine before immies may join the workforce. Secondly they have to pass a basic literacy test in German, which is ironic, as Merkel is guilty of economic illiteracy. The German govt is providing all the benefits — housing, subsistence, healthcare, education — and getting nothing in return.

    Yet the Boom Town Effect is economic reality. Despite being the most generous to refugees and immies, Germany just keeps on returning the strongest growth figures in the Eurozone. There is a societal cost. That’s a separate issue and should be treated as such.

  11. @Michael:. Is Germany providing the strongest growth figures? For the last full year stats are available for its growth rate lagged way behind the likes of Ireland and was 0.2% below the overall €zone growth rate. All the latest economic news is about whether it’s technically in a recession out might just squeeze through with just one quarter of negative growth

  12. 35€ billion is top line.

    What is the bottom line; how much did it cost to get that input?

  13. Don’t forget that under the ludicrous method of GDP accounting all government spending is taken to create as much value as is spent. So all the money spent by the German government on people managing, housing, educating and ‘integrating’ etc etc these immigrants will count as a euro for euro addition to GDP…..

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