Friday lay day – ABS funding should be appropriate and access free

Its my Friday lay day blog and my mini-topic today is a left-over from yesterday’s commentary on the latest Labour Force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The last few months data has been very volatile and the ABS has finally admitted that their seasonal adjustment techniques have not delivered realistic estimates of employment (and hence unemployment). This matters because many sectors and people use the summary aggregate statistics produced by the ABS, such as the headline unemployment rate for all manner of purposes, some of which are more important than others. The Federal Treasurer’s response to the issue has been predictably asinine. This is a person who has cut the national statistical agency’s budget by more than $68 million in the last year. His solution – force a user-pays regime onto the ABS so that we will have to pay to access their data to work out what is going on in our nation. It has been done before by conservative Australian governments, in part to reduce the flow of information but also, more mindlessly, to ‘save’ money – in a currency that the government issues! That is how mindless neo-liberal bean counters get.
Read the rest of this entry »

Spread the word ...
    Posted in Economics | 3 Comments

    Australian labour market – deteriorating

    Today’s release of the – Labour Force data – for September 2014 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides a major revision to the data set, which corrects for the extraordinary (and unbelievable) rise in part-time employment and the decline in unemployment that was published in the August release. For more explanation see below. Today’s more realistic results confirm what we have known for some time – the labour market continues to be in a weak state. Total employment fell by 29,700 this month and unemployment rose by 11,000. The rise in unemployment would have been worse had not the participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points, which just means that hidden unemployment has risen. To complete the story, total hours worked fell by nearly 1 per cent. The revisions to the data confirm that claims last month that the economy was improving and the that the Government’s strategy (what strategy you may ask!) is working are false. The sudden jump in employment published last month was a statistical artifact and has vanished into the reality of the situation.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Spread the word ...
      Posted in Labour Force | 2 Comments

      The myopia of neo-liberalism and the IMF is now evident to all

      The IMF published its October – World Economic Outlook – yesterday (October 7, 2014) and the news isn’t good. And remember this is the IMF, which is prone to overestimating growth, especially in times of fiscal austerity. What we are now seeing in these publications is recognition that economies around the world have entered the next phase of the crisis, which undermines the capacity to grow as much as the actual current growth rate. The concept of ‘secular stagnation’ is now more frequently referred to in the context of the crisis. However, the neo-liberal bias towards the primacy of monetary policy over fiscal policy as the means to overcome massive spending shortages remains. Further, it is clear that nations are now reaping the longer-term damages of failing to restore high employment levels as the GFC ensued. The unwillingness to immediately redress the private spending collapse not only has caused massive income and job losses but is now working to ensure that the growth rates possible in the past are going to be more difficult to achieve in the future unless there is a major rethink of the way fiscal policy is used. The myopia of neo-liberalism is now being exposed for all its destructive qualities.
      Read the rest of this entry »

      Spread the word ...
        Posted in Economics, Eurozone, IMF, Japan | 10 Comments

        The German experiment has failed

        In the last week, several new data releases have shown that the Eurozone crisis is now consolidating in the core of Europe – France, Italy and … yes, Germany. The latter has forced nonsensical austerity on its trading partners in the monetary union. And, finally, the inevitable has happened. Germany’s factories are now in decline because the austerity-ravaged economies of Europe can no longer support the levels of imports from Germany that the latter relied on to maintain its growth and place it in a position to lecture and hector the other nations on wage and government spending cuts. The whole policy approach is a disaster and is exacerbating the flawed design of the euro monetary system. The leaders should find a way to dismantle the whole charade and allow nations to seek their own paths to prosperity with their own currencies. The German experiment has failed.
        Read the rest of this entry »

        Spread the word ...
          Posted in Eurozone | 7 Comments

          Non-government debt lessons are not being learned

          There were two related articles in the Melbourne Age this weekend, a descriptive account of credit card debt vulnerability across Australian households – Default looms for millions of Australians (October 5, 2014), and an attempted analytical piece – If we are so wealthy, why are we in so much debt? (October 4, 2014). The latter is so intent on pushing an anti federal fiscal deficit angle that it fails to tie in the fact that its two central objects – the massive build up of private debt and the pursuit of fiscal surpluses are intrinsically related. The article attempts to rail against both without remotely understanding their connection. But that is what you expect from journalists who try to venture into areas they have lots of opinions but know little about.
          Read the rest of this entry »

          Spread the word ...
            Posted in Economics | 10 Comments

            Admin note: Server Change

            To all readers of my blog – I have just changed the Virtual Machine that I run my blog off and it now seems to be working fine. If you encounter any problems please let me know. The address remains the same (although soon I will be altering that to be www.billmitchell.org/blog but for now all is unchanged except the VM that is serving the files.

            Spread the word ...
              Posted in Admin | 2 Comments

              Saturday Quiz – October 4, 2014 – answers and discussion

              Here are the answers with discussion for yesterday’s quiz. The information provided should help you work out why you missed a question or three! If you haven’t already done the Quiz from yesterday then have a go at it before you read the answers. I hope this helps you develop an understanding of modern monetary theory (MMT) and its application to macroeconomic thinking. Comments as usual welcome, especially if I have made an error.
              Read the rest of this entry »

              Spread the word ...
                Posted in Saturday quiz | 3 Comments

                Saturday Quiz – October 4, 2014

                Welcome to the Billy Blog Saturday Quiz. The quiz tests whether you have been paying attention over the last seven days. See how you go with the following questions. Your results are only known to you and no records are retained.
                Read the rest of this entry »

                Spread the word ...
                  Posted in Saturday quiz | Leave a comment

                  Friday lay day

                  The Friday lay day comes around again. I am at present working on a paper on European unemployment clustering (a spatial econometric analysis commissioned by a leading academic journal). When we have finished I will post results in a layperson’s type of blog. I also am working on the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) book (a collection) for Edward Elgar which will come out early in 2015 (as well as my other Eurozone Groupthink book). So I need more time and hence the easier Friday. But I was watching a program on the plane yesterday about the number of people being displaced from Syria and the crisis that nations such as Turkey are now facing trying to house and feed them. Guess what? They lack basic resources because the governments claim they haven’t enough money. Austerity strikes again and as winter approaches in that region, many people including children are going to die through lack of basic care that could be at the fingertips of any number of government officials if they cared escape the neo-liberal world they are locked up within.
                  Read the rest of this entry »

                  Spread the word ...
                    Posted in Friday | 3 Comments

                    Direct central bank purchases of government debt

                    There was a recently published Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report – Direct Purchases of U.S. Treasury Securities by Federal Reserve Banks – by Kenneth D. Garbade, which recounts the way the central bank in the US could purchase unlimited amounts of treasury debt by creating funds out of thin air and how that capacity was eventually constrained. The Report is an understated account of the way in which the conservative ideological forces eventually prohibited this capacity and forced the US government to only issue debt to the private sector. He shows that between 1917 and 1935, this capacity was used often “without incident” but as the conservative antagonism grew it was limited (in 1935) and then abandoned altogether in the early 1980s. The Report demonstrates there were no intrinsic financial reasons for abandoning this capacity.
                    Read the rest of this entry »

                    Spread the word ...
                      Posted in Economics, US economy | 23 Comments