Saturday 14 May 2011

Dodgy Recovery and Pundits

So, a terrifying labour/skilled labour shortage is strangling Australian businesses and driving soaring wages, uh?

I'd say nope (in fact, I did so before), but you don't need to take my word for it.

According to the latest ABS employment figures, released today:

"The ABS reported the number of people employed decreased by 22,100 people to 11,436,500 in April [seasonally adjusted]. The decrease in employment was driven by a decrease in full-time employment, down 49,100 people to 8,056,800. The decrease in employment was partially offset by an increase in part-time employment, up 26,900 people to 3,379,700.

"The number of people unemployed decreased by 9,800 people to 583,000 in April, reported the ABS.

"The ABS monthly aggregate hours worked series showed a decrease in April, down 14.7 million hours to 1601.6 million hours.

"The ABS reported labour force participation in April of 65.6 per cent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from March."

For American readers: a similar result in the US would have shown a loss of 308 thousand fulltime jobs, after discounting part-time jobs. [*]

But the great loss is in hours worked: -0.9%.

Barring any perturbing factor (statistical error, external positive shock, miracle, etc.) I'd say Australia's economic recovery looks dodgy, right now.

And our esteemed pundits, experts, journos, bloggers and others still claim Australia desperately needs either higher interest rates, imported workers or both. See here.


[*] Australia had (midyear 2009) a population of 22 million people, according to World Bank/Google figures; the USA had (same time) a population of 307 million (US Census Bureau/Google figures).

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