Mar 8, 2018

Hard times in the bush and soft wages make for a tepid economy

While the economy continues to rack up moderate growth, there are some weak points.

Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane

Crikey business and media commentator / Politics editor

While the Turnbull government will continue to enjoy bragging about the fact 400,000 jobs were created over 2017, there are some worrying signs in yesterday's national accounts data, especially for a government that has just over a year until an election.

Overall, economic growth slowed in the December quarter, down from 0.7% in the September quarter to 0.4%. Over 2017, growth was 2.3%, compared to 2.9% in the year to September. Year-on-year, per capita GDP growth was just 0.8%. This is a continuation of the tepid growth we've had since 2013, and seemingly at odds with the 400,000 jobs -- but we'll come to that in a moment.

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10 thoughts on “Hard times in the bush and soft wages make for a tepid economy

  1. Coral SeeNQ

    Thank you for this story on ‘bush’ issues. Before the destruction of RN we used to have the BookShow with Ramona K followed by Bush Telegraph for an hour. This placed the large audience for books next to ‘the bush’ show. You just kind of kept listening and it was mostly brilliant. As people start to move out of bloated cities what is happening beyond them will, as connectivity diminishes as an issue, become of greater interest to those who want to live a financially manageable life.

  2. brian crooks

    The sooner country people realise that the national party no longer represents them the sooner things will turn around in the bush, today`s national party represents big mining and big and mostly foreign agricultural interests, the mere fact that former leader Joyce and Rhinehart are so close should send alarm bells ringing, here`s a multi millionaire that suggests workers should only be paid $2 a day and who flies the former deputy prime minister Joyce all over the country to promote her interests, a man and a party who voted for the slashing of workers penalty rates and cuts to retirees incomes incomes and are constant advocates for the Adani mine that will shut down 4 nsw upper hunter coal mines and throw hundreds out of work and will employ very few if any queenslanders as a result, and a party that pushes for the government to fund the building of a private railway at taxpayers expense, one that Rhinehart can then utilise for her massive companies at no cost to her, the national party has been bought and paid for by big minin, big cotton g and foreign interests, just because your grandaddy always voted country party doesn`t mean todays rural voter should, because that country party of old did represent grandads and their families, todays national party doesn`t.

  3. DF

    John Howard has referred to the inescapable arithmetic of politics in the past. Here’s an arithmetical question. If unemployment was 5.5% a year ago and is still 5.5%, can someone please explain why the creation of those jobs has had no effect on the unemployment rate?

    1. sheamcduff

      Here’s a non answer.

      If we have this magical wonderful amazing jobs growth – described by Bernard recently as ‘massive’ – how come we have had Australians working less hours – by 27 million hours – last month compared to the previous and that month itself had a decline in many millions of hours worked compared to it’s previous month.
      Two consecutive months where Australians have had less work to do.
      More jobs = less working hours.
      Something is dreadfully wrong.

    2. Woopwoop

      Population growth.

  4. zut alors

    ‘A 10% fall in farm GDP is Barnaby Joyce’s legacy to the people of rural Australia…’

    For this remarkable achievement Gina Rinehart described him as a ‘champion’ of agriculture worthy of her cheque for $40K. Imagine how generous she might have been had Cousin Jethro overseen only 5% fall in farm GDP.

  5. klewso

    Cousin Jethro is the Elmer Gantry/Brother Justin Crowe of rural politics, saying all the right things – articulating and playing their insecurities and trepidation, being so far from the action, their boy on the Canberra farm – the congregation doesn’t want to look at what has been going on behind the scenes.
    The iconography of what he did with the M-DBA doesn’t bear thinking about – that that could be indicative of his real considerations, his sort of “pragmatic politics” where top table (donors) get all the cream – so they don’t.

  6. AR

    I’m tired of waiting for another, better generation, to bring to people beyond the sandstone curtain the Green message which, unless I’ve had a touch of the RipvWinkies agin, is that people, their families and their local matters are of primary concern.
    Damnation upon you, we, me Boomers.

  7. Jeff McLean

    I’m no fan of Barnaby Joyce or the Nationals, and a great fan of Keane and Dyer, but I cannot understand why you blame him for the loss of exports and lowering of bush GDP over the last few years. Surely, these factors are well outside the influence of a man, or even a party.

    1. klewso

      “The 3 Fs of Cousin Jethro”?
      There’s the :
      * False hope he holds out to the faithful.
      * Failures, the excuses for which he likes to pin on others.
      * Fat cat farmer and miner donors he prioritises over ordinary farmers –
      – as epitomised in the trickle down effect of his Upper Darling policy.
      If the ruddy buffoon was playing softball…..?

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