Hardly galloping back to work. The employment revival has gone into pause mode. Unemployment has been stuck around the five per cent mark for half a year now. And May’s seasonally adjusted unemployment figure of 4.9% released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is only 0.2 percentage points less than it was a year ago!

The sooner the next stage of the mining boom the better as far as the 593,000 unemployed are concerned.

Surely these figures will be enough to stop the incessant preaching by market economists that a tightening of monetary policy will soon be needed.

China takes the title. The biggest energy consuming country in the world is now China.

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy released overnight shows the United States economy relegated to second place.

BP gives the energy consumption figures in terms of million tonnes of oil equivalent with China the biggest consumer with 2432 million and the USA with 2286 million. Australia at 118.3 million tonnes accounts for about 1% of the world’s total energy consumption.

When it comes to measuring consumption per head Australia moves up the list considerably.

One thing this BP Review makes you ponder is what happens when economic growth in India begins to follow the Chinese path and both those countries reach consumption per head of more than six tonnes! There’s clearly some global warming to come.

And for all the talk of the damage done to the climate by CO2 created from burning coal, there are no signs that that fuel is declining in importance.

Quote of the week. The award surely must go to federal Agriculture Minister Joseph Ludwig for this observation on the need for only a six month pause in the live cattle trade with Indonesia:

”We need to put in place that supply chain assurance so as soon as we can move to a supply chain assurance then we can transition for the longer term.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey