The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mark Bayley on the US jobs report...

The always-stimulating Mark Bayley comments:

"On Friday the headline NFP figure of 200,000 and unemployment rate of 8.5% were both better than the 150,000 and 8.7% expected and what is more, the figures were driven by a rise in employment rather than job seekers dropping out of the labour force. In addition there was good news from hours worked (up to 34.4 from 34.3) and average hourly earnings at +0.2%.

If you want to point to some weaknesses in the report – and there are always some – then look no further than 42,000 job gains in the couriers and messengers sector; either that’s an awful lot of pigeons or online shopping was running hot at Christmas. A more normal figure for that sector is +/- 1,000 jobs. Retail hired 28,000. Also the better-than-normal weather may have allowed more people than usual to report to work; only 127,000 couldn’t make it to work rather than the five-year average of 192,000.

The Economic Policy Institute summarised the employment data succinctly: “the jobs deficit left from losses in 2008/2009 remains well over 10 million jobs; even at December’s growth rate, it would still take about seven more years – until around 2019 – to fill the gap and get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate. We need reports this strong and stronger for many years to come to bring our labour market back to health.”