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Labour force data surprises …

The ABS published the January Labour Force Survey data this morning which is the monthly indication of how the labour market is faring. All expectations were that with other indicators such as the NAB Business Confidence Index and the ANZ Job Advertisements count all heading south very rapidly in the last month that the Labour Force data would be equally grim and signal the slide into recession. How wrong we all were. But should we believe the data?

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    Professional profiling …

    I had to get some photos taken today by Fairfax newspapers for a story they are writing on my views on the expansion and the labour market. Of-course, I told them I had to present myself in a professional manner. They agreed and so it went ….

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      Why pander to the financial markets?

      In an article in the Melbourne Age today (February 11) entitled Taxpayer trillions fuel a monster mess, columnist David Hirst writing on the massive injection that the US Congress has approved quotes President Obama who said

      “Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $US700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $US168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $US8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.”

      His issue is that the secrecy of the arrangements is troublesome given their magnitude. With that I agree.

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        DIY greywater system …

        I updated my grey water system at the weekend to improve the filtration I had built. If you are interested you can go to the design page. I also added more vertical growing space by building another fence. I am…

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        Fiscal stimulus effects …

        Opposition leader Turnbull has decided to go to the wall in opposing the $42 billion package. In particular, they want tax cuts rather than the $12.7 billion in cash handouts. He said they will not be provide economic stimulus and that December’s $10.4 billion in handouts had not worked. Soon after Turnbull provided these conclusions the ABS released the latest retail trade figures which showed that consumer spending shot up by 3.8 per cent in December, the highest monthly increase since August 2000 (since the GST came in).

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          Thirsty and hot Koala …

          Things are going crazy with the climate these days and certain animals are coming up with new coping strategies. I was sent some photos yesterday about a Koala that got hot and thirsty in South Australia during its current record heat wave.

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            90,000 jobs for 42 billion is a bad strategy …

            Yesterday the Government announced its latest fiscal response to the rapidly worsening economic situation. They will spend $42 billion (mostly in 2009 and into 2010 to shore up aggregate demand. They estimate this will underwrite 90,000 jobs in the economy. That is not new jobs but existing jobs. They also estimate that the unemployment rate will rise to 7 per cent over the coming year which is around 300,000 people extra who will be without work. That will take unemployment towards 850,000 and underemployment will certainly rise in lock-step (already around 600,000) so you see the scale of the deterioration.

            However, while I think the package is a step in the right direction, the Government has failed to really target jobs. If the Government had have introduced a Job Guarantee and paid the workers the current national minimum wage (with holiday pay etc) it could have hired 557,000 full-time equivalent workers for around $8.3 billion per year. Where does this figure come from?

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              The D word – a time of national rejoicing …

              Various estimates about the size of the federal budget deficit are starting to emerge. The Government has acknowledged that the data shows that tax receipts have fallen dramatically and now their budget is in deficit. For me that is a time of national rejoicing … finally … the federal government is doing what it should … resuming its crucial role in financing non-government (in this case) domestic private savings. Finally, there is a net injection of financial assets coming from the excess spending over receipts. Finally, the drain on private wealth that the creation of budget surpluses requires is at an end.

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                Two masters in one week …

                On Monday I saw Jeff Beck at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne.  Here is what I thought. Last night (Saturday, January 31) I saw Leonard Cohen at an open air concert in a Hunter Valley vineyard. It is not often that you get to see two masters in one week. I gave last night’s concert a score of 8.5/10.

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