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, October 9, 2012

Did the RBA's Phil Lowe rip-off my AFR column today?

It's a joke of course, but the similarities are quite remarkable. My AFR column today comments (with the enclosed chart):

Treasury’s dual PhD David Gruen, destroys one side of the “patchwork economy” story. Gruen and his colleagues examined variations in the unemployment rate across 1400 “statistical local areas”. They found the decline in the jobless rate in the mining boom had actually reduced, rather than amplified, regional unemployment disparities. In December 2002 about 24 per cent of regions had a jobless rate within 1 per cent of the national average. By December 2011, this had jumped to about 30 per cent.

In his speech today, Phil Lowe remarks (with enclosed chart):

More positively, and to the surprise of many people, the significant variation in employment growth across industries has not led to greater variation in the unemployment rates across the country. One way to see this is to compare the distribution of unemployment rates across the 68 regions for which the ABS publishes data with the distribution of unemployment rates 10 years ago (Graph 6). The picture is pretty clear: the average unemployment rate is lower and the variation across the country is also lower. Today, around half the regions have unemployment rates below 5 per cent and 50 of the 68 regions have an unemployment rate below 6 per cent. In only three regions is the unemployment rate above 8 per cent, compared with 13 regions a decade ago.