Arguing against a minimum wage increase, KVOR host Michelli inaccurately claimed French unemployment as "somewhere around 40 percent"

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Arguing against a minimum wage increase, News Radio 740 KVOR host Joseph Michelli falsely claimed "the unemployment rate is somewhere around 40 percent in France."

On September 5, News Radio 740 KVOR host Joseph Michelli, arguing against a minimum wage increase, falsely claimed "the unemployment rate is somewhere around 40 percent in France." In fact, France's unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, 78 percent lower than Michelli claimed it was.

After an on-air apology that followed a Colorado Media Matters item noting his previous remarks that minimum wage workers are "dumb and incompetent," Michelli resumed his discussion on Amendment 42, a proposed constitutional amendment that would increase Colorado's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 per hour and would adjust the minimum wage annually for inflation.

Although Michelli correctly stated that France's minimum wage of 8.27 Euros (about $10.50) per hour is "about twice" the U.S. minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, he incorrectly placed the French unemployment rate "somewhere around 40 percent." The unemployment rate in July 2006 was 8.9 percent, less than a quarter of Michelli's exaggerated statistic. France's unemployment rate is down 1 percentage point from the previous year and is the lowest in nearly five years, according to government statistics reported by The Associated Press. Michelli may have taken the 40 percent figure from a November 2005 article in Capitalism Magazine in which conservative columnist Thomas Sowell wrote, "Unemployment rates among young Frenchmen are about 20 percent and among young Muslim men about 40 percent."

Michelli's erroneous citing of France's unemployment rate came less than three minutes after he said, "I am being monitored. And I'm really trying -- I really see this as a great opportunity to get better. You know, to push me to do better on behalf of the statistics that we cite on this show ..."

From the September 5 broadcast of News Radio 740 KVOR's The Joseph Michelli Show:

I am being monitored. And I'm really trying -- I really see this as a great opportunity to get better. You know, to push me to do better on behalf of the statistics that we cite on this show and making sure that people understand from whence some of these views come. So, more power to you. I'm glad you're out there.

[--]

Yeah, and what I understand is the French minimum wage is about twice what our federal minimum wage is. And it's not really translated into great prosperity for the French. In fact, right now, I think the unemployment rate -- I mean, the unemployment rate is somewhere around 40 percent in France.

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