Emmo being a bit too clever II

Craig Emerson was a tad misleading yesterday when discussing the performance of the labour market under the Rudd-Gillard government.

At a time when 11 million jobs were lost in North America and Europe, more than 400,000 were created in Australia.

Ongoing jobs growth since the global financial crisis, taking the total under Labor to 836,000, has translated into an average unemployment rate of less than 5.5 per cent. That’s well below its average of 6.8 per cent over the past 20 years and about two-thirds the rate of all OECD economies.

So I downloaded Labour Force statistics from the ABS (Table 2) and played around with the data. In all the analysis below I’m looking at seasonally adjusted data.

There has been an increase of some 814,000 “Employed – Total; Persons” between December 2007 and December 2012. That isn’t quite the 836,000 that Emerson claims, but let’s concede the point. About 800,000 more jobs now than when the Rudd-Gillard government came to office. Sounds good, right? Well not when you consider that the “Labour Force; Persons” has increased by some 988,000. That explains why the unemployment rate has increased under the Rudd-Gillard government. For all the talk about jobs being created and unemployment being low by OECD standards the fact remains that unemployment has increased since the Rudd-Gillard government came to power.

As we’ve discussed before, the current unemployment rate is not low by Australian policy standards. At the same time Emerson’s comparison of the current unemployment rate to the average over the past 20 years can be seen as somewhat misleading. The trend for most of that 20 year period was down. Even when those downward trends reversed they resumed quickly; but the latest upward spike has not been quickly reversed and unemployment is not falling.

What I do next is calculate the trend growth in “Employed – Total; Persons” (Jobssa) over the period October 2004 – November 2007 (the last term of the Howard government). I then extrapolate that trend growth over the period December 2007 – December 2012 (the Rudd-Gillard era). I then graph the two series.

Not a pretty sight.

It looks to be that there are four phases in the data – first the labour market stays on the Howard trend. Then the GFC causes the labour market to flatten out – that period looks to be about October 2008 – September 2009. Then labour market growth resumes for about a year and at October 2010 we have a bit of kink and growth continues but at a lower rate. So Emerson can’t blame the GFC for the current high rate of unemployment – policy choices and regime uncertainty have played a part too.

Having this government claim credit for low unemployment is a sick joke. Job creation has not kept up with growth in the labour force, the unemployment rate is higher now than when it came to office. The only excuse they have for increased unemployment is the GFC – a crisis that ended in 2009. At some point they will have to realise that their policies have resulted in thousands of Australians being unemployed.

Update: Grey points out in comments that I’d compared the last term of the Howard government to the two terms of the Rudd-Gillard government and the last two terms of the Howard government as I said, and as I had intended. So here is the graph showing the Howard trend calculated from October 2001 – November 2007.

Still not a pretty sight.

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16 Responses to Emmo being a bit too clever II

  1. The Village Idiot (Reformed)

    AS I pointed out to Craig Emerson on Twitter yesterday the number of unemployed November 2007 was 484,600. At December 2012 it was 656,400. That’s an increase of 161,800 or 33.4%. Why don’t they mention this figure?

  2. max

    Currently drinking boutique beers with two unionists in annandale. Apparently Julia has added “close to” 1 million jobs and the resignations are due to abbots constant negativity. They all have iPhones as weell

  3. Sal

    You cannot believe a word this government says. What a bunch of rogues.

  4. Free Advice

    Dreyfuss the Hypocrite.
    What a bad start.
    End days indeed.

  5. Grey

    What I do next is calculate the trend growth in “Employed – Total; Persons” (Jobssa) over the period October 2004 – November 2007 (the last two terms of the Howard government)

    OK, either my maths has gone to pot (always a possibility) or there is a problem here. Something about this screams cherry pick.
    Why not construct your trend line 1997 -2007, if you want a fair comparison.

    With bodgy comparisons like this anyone would think you were angling for pre-selection for the Coalition. Or asking to do their pre-election manifesto audit.

    [Fixed that – thanks. Sinc]

  6. .

    Or we could extrapolate the Gillard/Rudd/Swan trend since 1997.

  7. Grey

    Or we could extrapolate the Gillard/Rudd/Swan trend since 1997.

    More gnomic incoherence from dot.

  8. Gab

    It would also be interesting to see the trend in the number of businesses going broke over the last 20 years and the same for number of new business registrations.

  9. .

    You’re being incoherent, Gab.

    Shut up, that’s why!

  10. Crossie

    It would also be interesting to see the trend in the number of businesses going broke over the last 20 years and the same for number of new business registrations.

    Small businesses in particular. I don’t have any statistics and am too lazy to go looking. Just look around shopping centres, especially smaller suburban ones, and count the number of vacant shops that were occupied four/five years ago.

  11. Aliice

    Yeah me too Crossie. I live on the northern beaches in Sydney and I see a lot of vacant commercial / retail strip premises now.

    I dont like to see it like that. It reminds me of a time I went to Surfer’s Paradise about maybe 12 years ago and there were whole large empty shopping malls bar a few shops open and half (more than half the shops empty).

    I reckon this as after the Japs lost their enthusiasm for the place. It was hot there at Surfer’s for the Japs for a while but I think it died.

    Never good to see to many for lease signs is it?

  12. Aliice


    What did Gab do to spark your temper? Nothing.
    By now we all know you are a grumpy bastard Dot – no two ways about it.

  13. Sinclair Davidson

    Aliice – dot is being sarcastic.

  14. Up The Workers!

    Yep, Gillard and her Einstein-clone Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan HAVE created nearly 1 million jobs.

    There is nothing stopping ANY Australian from applying for one – provided they don’t mind learning Mandarin and moving to China and taking out citizenship there, because that is where the only jobs are that Juliar & Co have created.

    No, I tell a lie! I went for a walk past Juliar’s electoral office in Synnot Street, Werribee last week and counted 10 unemployment/job service providers (and a MASSIVE Centrelink complex) all within a couple of blocks of her office.

    What came first – the chicken or the egg?

  15. Aliice

    Sinc – honestly I quite like Dot. Something about him…and I dont really mind his temper at all.

  16. Andrew

    Including the start of 2008 is also a bit generous for the ALP Govt considering that Rudd only first went into Parliament in Feb-March 2008 and had not implemented any of their policies until later that year.

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