Why the jobs market is like baked beans on toast

Fri, 16 Feb 2018  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 Finance website at this link: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/2447510-043200008.html 


Why the jobs market is like baked beans on toast

The January labour force data were a bit like baked beans on toast.

Not horrible, but hardly the sort of thing that is going to inspire joy and optimism about the future. The unemployment rate remains at 5.5 per cent which is significantly above most estimates of full employment for Australia and is exactly the same as it was in May 2017.

In other words, there has been no progress in reducing Australia’s stubbornly high unemployment rate since the budget 8 months ago even though the government likes to crow about the level of job creation in recent times. Despite this bluster and noisy rhetoric about job creation, the fact is the unemployment rate remains uncomfortably high and no one is doing anything about it.

Most of the recent gains in employment, which at face value has been impressive, are merely a reflection of population growth and no more. Another disconcerting aspect of the labour force data was confirmation that total hours worked by all employees in the economy fall sharply in January. This is a sure sign that the economy is not all that healthy.

Usually when economic conditions are buoyant, employees are asked to work more hours before finally the employer adds to staff numbers. In Australia’s highly flexible labour market, when times are tough, firms tend to ask their employees to work less fewer hours rather than sacking them. This is what is happening now.

Total hours worked in the Australian economy is lower in January 2018 than in May 2017 and this is despite employment rising by close to 250,000 over that time.
The average hours worked per employee fell to a record low as a result, meaning that there is still a huge amount of spare capacity in the labour market, evidenced by very high underemployment and ongoing troublesome high unemployment.

The labour force data have important implications for the Reserve Bank and interest rate settings. At its most simplest, there is now close to zero probability of an interest rate rise any time soon. The economy could not digest it, not just because of the soft labour market conditions, but because house prices are falling, wages growth is dead and inflation is below target.

The case for interest rate cuts, which was strong because of those factors, is gaining momentum not least because of the stalling in progress in reducing the unemployment rate.

Next week sees the release of wages data. If these show annual wages growth mired around 2 per cent, the rate cut bandwagon may get a few more people on board, including the RBA. It will require a major about face for the RBA to move to an easing bias, but in recent months it has shown pragmatism and flexibility when confronted with new information on the economy.

The labour force data confirm the economy needs a shot in the arm if we are to get close to full employment, let alone matching the 4 to 4.5 per cent unemployment rate many of our competitors are currently enjoying.

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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: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/the-governments-test-in-2020-220310427.html   


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.