Labor or Liberal - which side is best at job creation?

Thu, 19 Mar 2015  |  

It is almost beyond argument that the best thing a government can do with its economic policy agenda is to create jobs in a sustainable manner. The reasons are obvious.

Both sides of Australia's political scene reckon they are the best at it, so I looked at the facts over the last 40 years or so (roughly 19 years of Labor and 20 years of the Coalition in office) to see who is right.

Rather than look at raw employment numbers which would bias the results against the Coalition, I thought it best to examine average monthly employment growth. The reason for this is simple - a 10,000 increase in employment today is much less impressive than creating 10,000 jobs in the 1970s when the population and labour force were roughly half the size of today. In other words, 5,000 jobs in the Fraser years is roughly the same at 10,000 jobs today, simply because the economy and the labour market are bigger now.

Here are the results:

Recall, this is the average monthly per cent increase in employment for each government:

Abbott             0.09%
Rudd/Gillard     0.12%
Howard            0.17%
Hawke/Keating 0.18%
Fraser*            0.08%

*Monthly employment data are not available prior to February 1978. I have used the 3-monthly data prior to that and interpolated the results.

Of course immigration levels, the business cycle, wages and a bunch of other issues can influence these results but that is probably best left for someones PhD thesis to explore. Suffice to say, Labor governments seem to be pretty good at delivering increases in employment over a long time-frame.

Of course, I averaged the data for Labor (Hawke, Keating, Rudd, Gillard) as a whole, and did the same for the Coalition as a whole (Fraser, Howard, Abbott).

The results for average monthly employment increases were:

Labor             0.16%
Coalition         0.13%

To three decimal places, average monthly job creation under Labor governments was 0.034 per cent higher than under Coalition governments, month in, month out over several decades.

And it you think 0.034 per cent is small beer, in today's labour market terms, that is a difference of 4,000 jobs – and remember this is for each month which means, quite clearly, around 50,000 jobs a year on average.

All of which means that the long run benchmark for monthly job creation is 0.15 per cent growth, which given the size of today's labour force is around 17,500 jobs. Have this in the back of your mind when you see each monthly employment result.

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Wed, 29 Jul 2020



Covid19 has opened a door for Australians to positively accept significant changes that will lead to a shared good. This rare opportunity enables us to achieve sustainable economic and social goals that create a new ‘normal’ as our way of life.

These Ten Steps are presented as non-partisan recommendations to the Australian Parliament in the firm belief that, if they embrace them, the Australian economy and society will be greatly enhanced after the Covid19 pandemic has passed.

*A job for you if you want one.
A significant increase in part time and casual employment can be created that will enable you to enjoy a more creative and peaceful lifestyle and to live longer and better. The traditional age at which you would have been expected to retire will become obsolete as a result. An access age for pension and superannuation will become your choice. This will enable you to remain in paid work for as long as you want to, on a basis that you choose, while boosting the productivity and growth of Australia.

*You will get wage increases that will be greater than your cost of living.
A demand for enhanced innovative skills at all levels of employment will be created as the economy grows in strength, thereby enhancing your stature in the workforce and enabling executive salaries and bonuses to drop to levels that are accepted as justifiable by employees, shareholders and customers.

The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

Tue, 07 Jan 2020

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance web site at this link:   


The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

For many people, the cost of the fires is immeasurable. 

Or irrelevant. 

They have lost loved ones, precious possessions, businesses and dreams and for these people, what lies ahead is bleak.

Life has changed forever.

As the fires continue to ravage through huge tracts of land, destroying yet more houses, more property, incinerating livestock herds, hundreds of millions of wildlife, birds and burning millions of hectares of forests, it is important to think about the plans for what lies ahead.

The rebuilding task will be huge.

Several thousands of houses, commercial buildings and infrastructure will require billions of dollars and thousands of workers to rebuild. Then there are the furniture and fittings for these buildings – carpets, fridges, washing machines, clothes, lounges, dining tables, TVs and the like will be purchased to restock.

Then there are the thousands of cars and other machinery and equipment that will need to be replaced.