Saturday 4th of December 2021

frying the books...


Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6% in July, down from 4.9%, defying expectations the economy would lose jobs due to the greater Sydney lockdown.


In July the Australian economy added 2,200 jobs and the number of unemployed people fell by 39,900, but the Australian Bureau of Statistics has warned the falling unemployment rate is not a sign of a strong jobs market.


Most of the improvement in unemployment was driven by a decrease in the participation rate from 62.2% to 62%, as people dropped out of the labour market.


Figures released by the ABS on Thursday reveal that 3m fewer hours were worked in July, down to 1,778m, and underemployment increased by 0.4 percentage points to 8.3%.


Greater Sydney has been in lockdown since late June, while Victoria’s shorter lockdown in mid-July and sixth lockdown in August have fuelled growing concerns that Australia’s economy will shrink in the final two quarters of 2021.

On Thursday Josh Frydenberg said lockdowns had caused “significant damage” to the Australian economy, and Treasury advice indicates a 2% contraction in the September quarter.

The treasurer told reporters in Canberra it was “too early to speculate” on the December quarter, but noted that the Reserve Bank predicted more than 4% growth in 2022.

Frydenberg said consumer spending and confidence were both 30% higher than in March and April 2020, so the macroeconomic picture, while “challenging”, is better than at the outset of the pandemic.

He also pointed to $290bn of business and household savings, as a potential source of stimulus after coronavirus restrictions ease.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said July saw “big falls in New South Wales in both employment (-36,000) and unemployment (-27,000), with the labour force reducing by around 64,000 people”.

“In addition, hours worked in NSW fell by 7%. These changes offset increases in employment and hours in Victoria.”

Victoria recorded a 9.7% increase in the number of hours worked in July, following the 8.4% fall in June.

NSW’s July 2021 jobs slump is now larger than during Victoria’s second wave lockdown in July 2020, when the latter lost 19,000 jobs in a month.

Frydenberg said that “normally we’d be celebrating that unemployment is at lowest point in 12 years – but today we’re not, because millions of our fellow Australians are doing it tough”.


Nevertheless, he said that figures showed “there is an enormous resilience in our economy”.

The employment minister, Stuart Robert, said that in NSW the number of workers stood down had increased from 13,900 in June to 116,700 in July, driving a national increase from 156,000 to 181,000 despite fewer workers stood down in Victoria. He concluded the jobs figures were “very much a tale of two states”.


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Stuart Robert is politically incompetent...


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Australia's JOB FIGURES FANTASY | How COVID is affecting unemployment | 7NEWS


And I know people who see Frydenberg as an excellent Prime Minister instead of Horrible ScoMo, let me say that Frydenberg polishes turds better than ScoMo who was not as good as Tony Abbott... At least, with Tony Abbott, we knew HE WAS LYING ALL THE TIME.  With ScoMo, it demands some onion-peeling before we can cry over his hidden lies... Frydenberg is more forthright, like Tony Abbott was, though less religious that Tony and Scott. Remember that Frydenberg has been responsible to squash your fragile welfare nuts in order to bring "the budget into the black"... And now he polished the floor with a soiled rag.

impeccable submission...

A gas company that won $21m in grants to frack in the Beetaloo Basin paid for a charter flight for the head of a Liberal party fundraising body to inspect its operations alongside the energy minister, Angus Taylor, documents handed to a Senate inquiry show.

A Senate inquiry into fracking in the Beetaloo Basin has been examining a grants scheme designed to incentivise exploratory drilling in the region as part of the Morrison government’s gas-led recovery.


Empire Energy has been one of the main beneficiaries of the scheme, last month winning three grants to explore the Beetaloo Basin.


The inquiry has heard that Empire donated to both major political parties and that its chair is Paul Espie, a frequent Liberal donor who has previously been described in parliament as a doyen of the Liberal party.


Empire’s managing director, Alex Underwood, responding to questions by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, told the Senate last month that the connections between the companies, Espie, and the Liberal party played “no role whatsoever in our applications for these grants. We follow due and proper process at all times.”

In October last year, Empire Energy organised for Taylor, the member for Hume in New South Wales, to visit its first Beetaloo well in the Northern Territory, paying for a “return charter flight and hospitality” for the minister, the inquiry has heard.

Also on the flight was the chair of the Hume Forum, Ryan Arrold, according to an attendance list provided to the Senate inquiry.

The Hume Forum is a Liberal party entity designed to help raise funds, typically by hosting events, similar to the Federal Forum and the now-defunct Millennium Forum.


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Please note that submisssions to the government for grants can be as impeccable as can be, while the awarding of said grants can be as long as the nose of the minister awarding the said grants... a minister that has to be flown there to inspect the quality of the champagne drunk on the premises... 


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stats are not working...


At any given time, there is a proportion of the population over the age of 15 who are not working. Some want to work, while others do not.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that earlier this year the proportion of that population grew to a size that has several economists sounding alarm bells.

They are two possible reasons, they say, that millions of Australians are on the workforce sidelines.

The first is that the "system" — which I will explain later — actively pushes people out of the jobs market. The second is that it's simply too soul-destroying being unemployed, as the ABS defines it, for months, or even years on end.

Before we go any further, let's look at the scope of the problem.

The numbers

There are millions of Australians, according to these recent figures, not engaged in any work.

To be precise, in February, 2.2 million were not employed and wanted to work — and that was before any of the recent lockdowns came into effect.

Of those 2.2 million, 808,000 were looking for work. This is the group that falls under the accepted definition of "unemployed".

But the data also reveals 1.81 million did not look for work.

That is, there were more than a million Australians who were not in work, could work and wanted to work, but did not look for a job.

And over three-quarters of these candidates were available to start immediately or within four weeks.

The numbers raise a critical question: what's stopping folks who are perfectly willing and able to land a job from finding work?

Life gets in the way 

A key reason many Australians are finding themselves on the jobs market sidelines is simply because they're too busy with life or study. Unemployed graduates make up a big chunk of the group.

"There's likely a large number of young people who are not able to access any work in that time," Centre for Future Work senior economist Alison Pennington says.


It still takes a graduate, Pennington says, on average 2.6 years to find their first full-time job.

"They may still be at home making decisions about whether they undertake further post-graduate studies, or they're taking part in other forms of work, as they patch their way into full-time," she says. 

But childcare is also proving a sticking point for many women.

Parents have to weigh up the benefits of receiving income from paid work compared to the cost of having their children in daycare for one, two or five days per week.

For the majority of families, Pennington says, the decision is made that the father goes to work, and the mother stays at home to look after the children.

"The very prohibitive costs of childcare we know are holding back thousands of women from getting into the workforce," she says.

Fed up with looking

It's possible the reasons mentioned so far don't come as a huge shock to you.

But the next reason many are finding themselves out of the jobs market is more disturbing.

Have you ever stopped to consider what's required of you in order to receive unemployment benefits from the government?


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profitkeeper program...

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is not pursuing $180 million in JobKeeper payments made to ineligible businesses because it says they made "honest mistakes" when applying for the money.

Key points:
  • Pressure mounts to publicly name companies that received JobKeeper while turnover increased
  • ATO will not pursue $180 million in JobKeeper payments to businesses that made 'honest mistakes'
  • Questions were raised about the definition of 'small and medium business'

But it has recovered $194 million in "overpayments" from other entities as pressure grows on the agency to publicly name the companies that received the wage subsidy despite increasing turnover. 

On Friday, tax commissioner Chris Jordan and second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn appeared before the Senate Economics Committee to answer questions about the ATO's administration of the JobKeeper scheme.

Mr Jordan gave the committee data showing the vast bulk of JobKeeper payments, worth about $70 billion, was paid in the first six months.

He said the ATO had reviewed roughly $12.5 billion of the program, and it had identified $470 million in overpayments.

Of that $470 million, the ATO had recovered $194 million so far, and it was pursuing a further $89 million, while $6 million was in dispute.

But the ATO has determined it will not pursue the remaining $180 million (of the $470 million), mostly from small businesses, because employers had made "honest mistakes" — they had claimed the JobKeeper wage subsidy "in good faith" and had already passed it on to their employees.

ATO says most companies acted 'in good faith'

Mr Jordan said the ATO had also reviewed the number of cases of businesses that forecast a decline in turnover and found "the vast majority of taxpayers undertook the projected decline in turnover test in good faith".

"From our review of more than 1,600 entities across all markets, including 480 large businesses, we found more than 95 per cent were eligible," Mr Jordan said in a statement provided to the committee.


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I know a few (1) people who make a honest mistake that are (is) in prison for it...


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losing workers...

Australia's unemployment rate has dropped again, to the lowest level in almost 13 years, but a steep fall in hours worked last month paints a more accurate picture of the economic pain resulting from COVID lockdowns.

Key points:
  • Unemployment fell from 4.6 to 4.5 per cent, even though 146,300 jobs were lost in August
  • Hours worked nationally fell by 3.7 per cent last month, while the number of people looking for work also dived
  • NSW drove the bulk of the job losses (-173,000), with employment down by 210,000 and hours worked down 13 per cent since the lockdown started

The official ABS figures show unemployment dipped from 4.6 per cent in July to 4.5 per cent in August, even though 146,300 jobs were lost.

The reason is that many people gave up looking for work, given the continuing COVID lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT, with the participation rate diving from 66 to 65.2 per cent.

"Beyond people losing their jobs, we have seen unemployed people drop out of the labour force, given how difficult it is to actively look for work and be available for work during lockdowns," explained Bjorn Jarvis, who heads labour statistics at the ABS.

"This has also coincided with a temporary pause in mutual obligations for jobseekers living in lockdown areas."




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horseshit stats...

Do you scratch your head when you hear the government talking about the unemployment rate?

Currently, the unemployment rate is just 4.6 per cent.

How in the world can that be?

Despite all of the economic destruction that's occurred on the east coast in recent months, the unemployment rate is still that low.

Well, it has to do with the model the Bureau of Statistics uses to calculate things like employment and unemployment.

And I want to show you one crucial element of the model that's feeding the confusion and which is rarely talked about.

Why define 'unemployed' that way?

Every month, the ABS takes a national survey of 26,000 households (roughly 52,000 people) that asks a bunch of employment-related questions.

It uses the information it collects in the survey to make estimates about the rest of Australia's workforce.


Now, the households that participate in the monthly survey have to fill in a questionnaire and the questions are specific to a two-week period.

For example, the survey that provided the numbers for September's unemployment rate covered the days from 29 August to 11 September.

That means when households were asked questions about the work they did, they were asked to specifically talk about the work they did from 29 August to 11 September.

That period covered by the survey is called the "reference week".

The concept of the reference week is very important for what I'm about to tell you.

It's the reason why some Australians are counted as officially "unemployed" while millions of others (who are also without work) just disappear from the data.

Economists are talking over your head

Let me explain.

For ABS officials to count you as officially "unemployed," you must meet three strict criteria:

  • You must be without work in the reference week
  • You must have been actively looking for work in the previous four weeks
  • You must be available to start work in the reference week

I want to focus on that third element.

Let's look at it again: to be considered officially unemployed, you must be available to start work in the same two weeks as the labour force survey is taking place.

What's the implication of that? 

It means if you're without work, but for some reason you're not able to start a new job immediately, it means you're no longer considered officially unemployed.

Even if you're available to start work in a month's time, it doesn't matter. You don't meet the definition of unemployed for the labour force survey.

And that means you're shunted off into a different definitional category, called "not in the labour force," where you have no impact whatsoever on the unemployment rate.

And here's why they do it.

It's a game for technicians

Have a look at the graph below.

It's a simplified model of the labour force framework.

(see Graph)

It's what ABS statisticians, Treasury officials, Reserve Bank officials and economists use to find the unemployment rate.

As you can see, the "labour force" is just a composite of two groups: the employed and the officially unemployed.

How do you know how many people are in the labour force? Easy.

Let's say you have 12.9 million employed people and 626,000 officially unemployed people. Just add them together.

It gives you a labour force of 13.5 million people (these numbers correspond to the real figures in the economy last month).

And how do you work out the unemployment rate? 

Well, just take the 626,000 unemployed people, divide it by the 13.5 million in the labour force, and it gives you an unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent. 

That's telling you 4.6 per cent of the labour force is unemployed.

Note that qualification. The unemployment rate is not telling you how many people are without work in the entire economy. It's only telling you what proportion of the "labour force" is without work. 

And this next bit is extremely important.

Have a look at that big yellow box called "Not in the Labour Force."

That's where millions of people are sitting who aren't employed, yet they're not counted in the official unemployment statistics.

Not in the labour force?

In September, there were over 7.3 million people in that "Not in the Labour Force" (NILF) group.

You can be in that group for lots of reasons. Traditionally, you might be:

  • Retired
  • Full-time parent
  • Full-time carer
  • Student
  • Permanently disabled
  • Travelling
  • Discouraged job-seeker
  • In prison or another institution

However, in the last three months, the COVID lockdowns and restrictions saw an extra 334,000 people enter the group.

Now, when ABS officials took the labour force survey last month they categorised the above people according to certain criteria


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