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."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Saul Eslake sticks to 6% unemployment prediction by end-year

In the AFR today Saul argues:

However, what doesn’t stack up is the Reserve Bank’s confidence that the required productivity gains can be obtained while keeping the unemployment rate below 5.5 per cent. Thus far, job losses in sectors that are feeling the chill winds of structural change have been more or less fully offset by job gains in sectors that are experiencing rapid growth (such as mining, engineering, construction, business and professional services, and healthcare).

The population growth rate may not keep declining; nor is it safe to assume that the participation rate will continue to fall. There is hope that there will be an improvement in the rate of productivity growth but, despite the Reserve Bank’s optimism, this may not occur without pushing the unemployment rate up into the vicinity of 6 per cent by the end of the year.