“The ‘human dividend’ of having a job and enjoying the benefits of a strong economy and a stable society is emerging as the focus of the Coalition’s re-election message”, according to The Oz. This most basic point has the immense benefit of being correct, and traditional, union-dominated industrial relations is against job creation, preferring instead to maximise wages and conditions for the bruvvers who happen to be employed.

Tim Colebatch makes the point in terms that cannot be denied: “In the five years to February, Bureau of Statistics figures show, the number of blue-collar jobs around Australia swelled by just over 300,000 — a stunning change from a fall of 4000 in the previous five years”.

It was alleged — presumably on the basis of selected briefings to journalistic “trusties” — that concerns about the US economy led the Reserve Bank to stay its hand on interest rates despite all the signs of inflationary pressures in the Australian economy.

The latest US jobs data is another sign that the RBA got it wrong. The SMH reports: “An acceleration in US employment growth in March produced 180,000 new jobs, the Government said today in a sign that the economy is more robust than some had anticipated.”

When raising interest rates last year, the RBA argued that strong jobs data was a more reliable guide to the state of the Australian economy than weak GDP data. This message seems to have been lost in its interpretation of the US economy.

In other job news, the Olivier Internet Job Index grew again in March to average 303,124 job ads counted each week on the major Australian sites — an increase of 4.23%, seasonally adjusted, in the month, meaning a 10.02% gain in the quarter and a 41.19% increase in the year.

Today sees the release of the latest Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating, which shows a 3.6 point jump to a 12-month high of 124.3. This result is understandable given the overall strength of the Aussie economy and the rising Australian dollar — effectively, Aussies have lots of money to spend on relatively cheap imports.

However, unless First-Quarter consumer price inflation data, due April 24, is surprisingly benign, this result means that it is almost guaranteed that the Reserve Bank will hike interest rates when they meet on May 1. As Henry has previously said, the costs of curing inflation should be endured for the sake of the lasting benefits of price stability.

Finally, twenty-six dead on the roads this Easter (10 in Victoria), and perhaps five times that number seriously injured, some of whom will require expensive tending for the rest of their ruined lives. Can any reader provide an estimate of the cost of this carnage? Surely the benefits of halving these numbers would justify an enormous outlay? Contact Henry here.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey