The truth about Australia’s unemployment rate ‘shocker’

Flattr this!

Hey, great news! Australia’s unem­ploy­ment rate fell by 0.4 per cent last month! Did you hear?

You didn’t? That’s fun­ny. I was sure Joe would tell you.

What do you mean, it rose by 0.4 per cent? Oh, you’re talk­ing about the ABS fig­ure! Yeah, that’s bad, but if you look at what hap­pened to the Roy Mor­gan unem­ploy­ment rate, the news is real­ly good: it’s fall­en from 10.6 per cent to 10.2 per cent! If this keeps up, pret­ty soon unem­ploy­ment in Aus­tralia will be below 10 per cent!

Huh? You thought it was 6.4 per cent — and that was bad? Actu­al­ly, that would be real­ly good if that were true.

Here­in lies the prob­lem with spin in eco­nom­ic data: some­times the spin turns your way, some­times it doesn’t. The ABS uses the inter­na­tion­al­ly sanc­tioned def­i­n­i­tion of unem­ploy­ment, which is sim­i­lar to Tom Waits’ def­i­n­i­tion of being drunk: you have to be real­ly, real­ly out of it to qual­i­fy. Not only must you not be in employ­ment, but you can’t have done even one hour of paid or unpaid in the four weeks pri­or to the sur­vey. Nor can you be dis­cour­aged by the absence of avail­able jobs either — you must have applied forsome­thing in the pre­vi­ous four weeks — and you must be avail­able to start imme­di­ate­ly.

Hands up all those who think they could sur­vive on one hour’s paid work every four weeks? Thanks Eddie (and you too, Mal­colm).

Click here to read the rest of this post.

Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.