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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: gloom for pessimists

As well as stronger employment figures, the ABS made it even harder to join the glass-half-empty crowd by finding that monthly aggregate hours worked series showed an increase in November.

Gloomy day for pessimists. Those unemployment numbers won’t play fair. Just when the economic gloom and doomers had a slightly weaker GDP growth figure to add to their armoury, the dreaded Australian Bureau of Statistics reports unemployment falling instead of rising. Down 0.1 of a percentage point to 5.2 in November it told us this morning.

And the ABS made it even harder to join the glass-half-empty crowd by finding that monthly aggregate hours worked series showed an increase in November too — up 1.3 million hours to 1.62 million hours. The only consolation to be grasped is that the participation rate fell by the same amount as unemployment so we can argue that really nothing changed.

And don’t forget that the seasonally adjusted underemployment rate for the month was 7.2%. Combined with the unemployment rate of 5.2%, the latest estimate of total seasonally adjusted labour force underutilisation was 12.5%t in November. That’s a better figure — far more pessimistic looking.

Another blame game. I notice that Kevin Rudd has hospital funding back on his “to talk about” list. At least the man who first promised to end the blame game is being consistent but then his successor is too in her own way. The National Disability Insurance scheme that Julia Gillard is so proud of is bound to become another area full of wonderful disputes between the federal and state governments over its funding.

What a pity that the advice of the Productivity Commission was ignored. If disability funding is not going to become as tiresome as hospital funding the Commonwealth should be footing all the bills instead of sharing them. What we are stumbling into is a recipe for another federalism disaster.

A Labor death wish? The start of an election year is a most inopportune time for an outbreak of internal feuding over control of a political party but it is what Labor is engaging in. It is as if the jostling for position after defeat is beginning early. Tony Abbott could not be given a better Christmas present than the comments from both Right and Left in New South Wales with Kevin adding his little bit of mischief from north of the border.

Getting into the spirit. It’s a bit modern for me, but for those of you with an affection for the 1970s I present a return of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta from their just released charity fund raising album “This Christmas”:

News and views noted along the way.

2
  • 1
    Jackson Graham
    Posted Thursday, 6 December 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Blame game, death wish: loosen up, Richard.

  • 2
    Posted Thursday, 6 December 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Qlf eh? Queenslaff? Qualified*land?

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