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S-time-distance shows that EU has lost 4 years of growth of GDP and employment
Wednesday, 30 June 2010

GDP and total employment in EU27 are at the 2006 levels

Growth rates of the respective magnitudes or indicators seems to be the prevailing
measure used by statistical offices, national and international organisations and media for
describing economic development over time. They need to be complemented by other easily
understandable statistical measures to facilitate the stakeholders to better understand the
situation in a broader framework.

Tables 2 and 3 offer two more statistical measures beyond growth rates that can additionally
describe the severity of the crisis related to levels of GDP and total employment for EU27
countries, United States and Japan: static index of fall from the peak level and S-time-
distance, which in this special declining phase indicates for how many years have the current
levels fallen back to levels already achieved earlier. Time distance analysis lead to a
summary statement that EU27 has in the current crisis lost 4 years of growth of GDP
and of total employment.

For 2010 it is expected that all EU countries except Poland will still be below their 2008
levels: from 1% to 22% according to one measure and falling back from 2.4 to 8 years
according to the time distance measure. USA are expected to return to its 2008 GDP level
while for Japan time distance would be 5 years. The time distance lag would be between 2
and 3 years for 5 EU countries, between 3 and 4 years 9 countries, between 4 and 5 years 7
countries and for 4 countries between 5 and 6 years. Mostly positive growth rates of GDP in
2010 were much too low to compensate for the fall in 2009.

Table 3 for total employment shows even a more difficult situation than for GDP even though
the fall of total employment in 2009 was -1.6 percent, i.e. less than for GDP of -4.2 percent.
In percentage terms total employment fell more in the USA, in EU and in Japan the fall
was similar. However, S-time-distance shows again a different picture. The time lag for the
USA is expected to be in 2010 about 6 years, for Japan about 21 years (USA level of total
employment is expected to be at their 2004 level and for Japan at their 1988 level), for the
EU27 about 4 years. The forecast for 2011 shows that for 7 EU countries total employment
would be shifted back to levels attained more than 10 years ago (before 2001). They are
Portugal and six earlier socialist economies (Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and the
three Baltic members Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). Even in static terms total employment
fell for 5 countries (which include Ireland) between 9% and 19%.

S-time-distance measure adds a perspective that is easily understandable by everyone.
This additional time distance perspective can be a very useful tool for better
understanding of the situation needed for policy discussions among social partners
in difficult circumstances. Looking only at growth rates of GDP and employment
does not give a clear indication of the severity of the crisis to policy makers and to the
general public. 

The summary statement that EU27 has in the current crisis lost 4 years
of growth of GDP and of total employment needs to be complemented with diverse
situations in the countries. Also, the employment situation is shown to be even more
difficult than that with GDP. In the next paper we shall show that investment rate has
declined even more to affect the medium term possibilities of growth.

S-time-distance presentation at Eurostat
Sunday, 02 May 2010

S-time-distance method – A Novel Generic Statistical Measure Providing New Insights from Existing Data

Attached is the presentation of P. Sicherl at the Eurostat, March 2010 and at the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, April 2010

S-time-distance is a novel statistical measure providing new insights to many problems. Expressed in time units it is readily understood by policy makers, managers, media and general public, thus an excellent presentation and communication tool for policy analysis and debate.

Professor Sicherl first provides an outline on the time distance methodology. There is a number of examples of application topics provided based on Eurostat and some other international data.

A special attention is given to using the time distance method for graphical presentation of relevant statistical indicators.

Visualisation of digital divide in the world
Thursday, 01 April 2010

Presentation of P. Sicherl at the 11th Bled Forum on Europe: The future of Information Society and Challenges for Good Governance 

Digital divide visualisation in a broader sense is encompassing a novel methodology of measuring gaps in two dimensions (static and time distance measures) and analysing ICT together with other development attributes. 

Using Sweden as a benchmark the graphs for 186-200 countries for three ICT indicators per 100 inhabitants (mobile phones, Internet users and fixed broadband penetration) will be shown for two measures of disparity for 2008: static index (Sweden=100) and time lag behind Sweden. On the one hand, the global digital divide measured by static degree of disparity is very high especially in the more demanding sectors. This needs to be addressed by the world community. On the other hand, the rapid speed of ICT diffusion shows that the time distance lag behind Sweden is between 8 to 12 years compared with life expectancy (66 years) and infant survival rate (72 years). Thus the potential of technological progress can with additional help create the opportunity for the ICT sector to become important instrument to reduce world disparities and promote sustainable development. 

Improved governance needs also better tools for fact based decision making. The time distance methodology can be used both for benchmarking and monitoring also for digital divide at other levels and also across indicators in other domains on macro and micro levels. 

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