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Analysis and Comment (47)

Rates should stay steady for now, say CAMA economists. Rates should stay steady for now, say CAMA economists. Dan Peled/AAP

Call likely to grow louder for interest rates to rise

The CAMA RBA Shadow Board is a project by the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, based at the ANU, which asks industry and academic economists what interest rate the Reserve Bank of Australia should…
The probability of receiving a work for the dole pilot is much higher in non-marginal electorates, regardless of the level of actual youth unemployment. The probability of receiving a work for the dole pilot is much higher in non-marginal electorates, regardless of the level of actual youth unemployment. AAP/Julian Smith

Safe seats are more likely to have a work for the dole pilot

In July, the federal government will begin a series of pilot programs for its work for the dole scheme across Australia. All job seekers aged 18 to 30 who have been unemployed for more than a year and…
More than one-third of unemployed people are aged 15 to 24, a critical period in their lives. More than one-third of unemployed people are aged 15 to 24, a critical period in their lives. luxorphoto/Shutterstock

Unemployment is hitting youth hard: this is what we should do

Australia came out of the global financial crisis better than most industrialised countries, but did not escape altogether. With a weaker economy, the unemployment rate rose from about 4% to 6% between…
Australia should be proud of its high minimum wage. Australia should be proud of its high minimum wage. atomicjeep/Flickr

Australian business gets a good deal from the minimum wage

Last week Australia’s Fair Work Commission increased the national minimum wage to A$16.87 an hour from 1 July, 2014. The usual suspects rolled out the usual arguments denouncing this initiative, and Treasurer…
Many people prefer casual work and a phased approach to retirement. Many people prefer casual work and a phased approach to retirement. Shutterstock

If we are to work to 70, we need to rethink work

The norm of permanent full-time terms of employment is under serious challenge. In Australia today more than one-third of employed people work on more variable terms – in particular as casuals (19%), independent…
The number of young unemployed people has grown by more than 60% in less than six years, so why are they largely ignored? The number of young unemployed people has grown by more than 60% in less than six years, so why are they largely ignored? AAP/Alan Porritt

Why rising youth unemployment demands our urgent attention

I believe there is a special case for taking an interest in youth unemployment. It is concerning that more than one-third of the unemployed people in Australia are aged 15 to 24. In the 14 years leading…
Destination unknown: measuring youth unemployment is a fraught business. Destination unknown: measuring youth unemployment is a fraught business. Martin Rickett/PA

Hard Evidence: who are the NEETS?

Governments across Europe are searching for effective policies to drive down youth unemployment. Most European countries have experienced an alarming rise in the levels of young people (16-24) who are…
Australia’s economy is showing promising signs, with global events the main source of concern. Australia’s economy is showing promising signs, with global events the main source of concern. AAP

Promise on the horizon for Australian economy

The Australian economy appears to be benefiting from the current expansionary stance in monetary policy, despite uncertainties in the global economy. The CAMA Shadow Board is 71% confident that the cash…
Young left out of the recovery. Young left out of the recovery. Andy Rain/EPA

Hard Evidence: are young people’s job prospects improving?

Recessions always hit young people hard. Firms’ first response to declining orders is to stop hiring new recruits rather than sacking experienced staff. Young people disproportionately rely on new hiring…
Youth Club? Youth Club? EPA/Andy Rain

Handle with care: Europe’s fragile jobs growth

Unemployment in the euro area finally seems to be showing signs of a timid recovery, according to the winter forecasts from the EU, but that doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. A bumpy ride lies…
Rising unemployment is likely to be a factor in future interest rate movements. Rising unemployment is likely to be a factor in future interest rate movements. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Spectre of rising unemployment to weigh on rates decision

The key question for interest rates this month is whether improving domestic demand will curb the increasing rate of unemployment and underemployment, or whether labour market weakness will persist. The…
The government plans to re-introduce work for the dole, but does it work? The government plans to re-introduce work for the dole, but does it work? Shutterstock

Work for the Dole doesn’t work - but here is what does

The Work for the Dole program could again become a core element of welfare policy for the unemployed in Australia, but there is a considerable body of evidence which shows it is unlikely to help people…
Moving some sole parents onto the lower Newstart payments has pushed up the numbers. Moving some sole parents onto the lower Newstart payments has pushed up the numbers. Alan Porritt/AAPIMAGE

Is ‘unsustainable’ welfare growth really being driven by Newstart?

Social services minister Kevin Andrews has targeted the Disability Support Pension and Newstart, the main payment for the unemployed, for reform, branding the current level of welfare as unsustainable…
All aboard the big bucks bus … not you, sir… All aboard the big bucks bus … not you, sir… Phil Wilkinson/The Scotsman/PA Wire

We need full employment to curb Benefits Street wealth gap

In a new report, Working For The Few, Oxfam warns that the fight against poverty cannot be won until wealth inequality has been tackled. The wealth of the richest 1% in the world amounts to $110 trillion…
Unemployment is expected to rise in 2014, and some suburbs of Australia will be harder hit than others. Unemployment is expected to rise in 2014, and some suburbs of Australia will be harder hit than others. eliduke/Flickr

Unemployment … coming to a suburb near you

Australians are heading into 2014 with job vacancies falling, and Australian Treasury forecasts and monthly labour force data all pointing to rising levels of unemployment in the year ahead. Some local…
Working hard at keeping healthy. Working hard at keeping healthy. Katie Collins/PA

Stress-busting effect of green spaces stronger on women

A new study sheds light on why natural spaces in cities can help keep us healthy. Researchers found that people living in neighbourhoods with a large amount of green space, such as parks or playing fields…
Unemployment has higher psychic costs for workers who identify with the Protestant work ethic. Unemployment has higher psychic costs for workers who identify with the Protestant work ethic. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

O, what a tangled Weber we weave with unemployment

Recently released labour force figures have shown a rise in unemployment figures to 5.8% and, with Treasury’s budget update slating a rise to 6.25% by the end of the financial year, the future doesn’t…
Tony Abbott has promised not to cut areas such as health, education and payments to the poor and disadvantaged, but a Commission of Audit report traditionally trumps such Liberal National Party promises. Tony Abbott has promised not to cut areas such as health, education and payments to the poor and disadvantaged, but a Commission of Audit report traditionally trumps such Liberal National Party promises. AAP

Hidden in plain sight: commission cuts and non-core promises

There has been much, and justified, criticism, of Tony Abbott’s decision to conceal the costings of his policies until two days before the election, when the electronic media blackout will be in place…
Both leaders were non-specific when asked underemployment during the 2013 Peoples Forum. Both leaders were non-specific when asked underemployment during the 2013 Peoples Forum. AAP

Rudd, Abbott, bring on the plan for more ‘middle class’ jobs

Jobs growth is a centrepiece political promise for both political parties but nothing has been said on what type of jobs these will be. At least President Obama told Americans in his 2013 State of the…
Even on sale, payday loans are getting us into more financial trouble. Even on sale, payday loans are getting us into more financial trouble. PA

Short of cash, rent and food – Britons in dire financial straits

Britain is currently experiencing its longest and deepest economic slump in a century. But through new research we’re only just beginning to realise quite how dramatic the impact of this recession has…
Don’t bust out the champagne yet: not everyone will be able to afford it. Don’t bust out the champagne yet: not everyone will be able to afford it. Toni Blay

Recovery may not be enough to fix unemployment

With economic “green shoots” appearing, you might expect to see improvements in the labour market, with higher wages and lower unemployment. But don’t get the champagne out just yet: this crisis isn’t…
Australia’s unemployment is 5.5%. How does that stack up internationally? Australia’s unemployment is 5.5%. How does that stack up internationally? APH

FactCheck: is our unemployment rate low by world standards?

“Australia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world.” - Finance minister Penny Wong, The Drum opinion article, 14 January. Several ministers, including finance minister Penny Wong…
Australia enjoys a privileged relationship with most economies in the Asian region because of the integrated global value chain. Australia enjoys a privileged relationship with most economies in the Asian region because of the integrated global value chain. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Increasing Australia’s edge through Asian value chains

Australia is facing increasingly stiff competition from developed economies all vying for a share of the growth pie in the East and South Asian region, where Australia has integrated its value chain activities…
Smash the system, not traffic lights. Smash the system, not traffic lights. flikr/bobaliciouslondon

Why aren’t unemployed young people rioting in the streets?

A fifth of Britain’s young people are out of work; how long before they snap? The International Labour Organisation has recently issued warnings about possible youth unrest in the future, as young people…
So much for green shoots. So much for green shoots. Lynne Cameron/PA

Should we really be boasting about the British jobs market?

The UK labour market has done much better than expected since the start of the recession. Although we are suffering the worst recovery for over a century – national income has shrunk by almost 3% since…
President Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, reigniting the debate about the effect of a wage hike on unemployment. President Obama has proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, reigniting the debate about the effect of a wage hike on unemployment. flickr\brianwallace

Obama’s pledge to raise the minimum wage is good policy

In his State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama reignited a perennial debate in his proposal to increase the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour. Advocating…
Tasmanians wait for the royal visitors to arrive earlier this year. The state has a population both the oldest in the country and ageing fastest. Tasmanians wait for the royal visitors to arrive earlier this year. The state has a population both the oldest in the country and ageing fastest.

Tackling the challenge of Tasmania’s ageing population

Along with stagnating economic growth, Tasmania is facing a major demographic challenge - rising unemployment and a population which is both the oldest in the country and ageing faster than any other state…
Sole parents face competition from other jobseekers for flexible jobs that enable them to care for their children. Sole parents face competition from other jobseekers for flexible jobs that enable them to care for their children. AAP

What the government wants to ignore about sole parents and jobseeking

It is universally agreed Newstart is inadequate, especially for the long-term support of individuals or families. The government says their solution is for recipients to get a job, but that is not easy…
With stable jobs in short supply, what does the future hold for Australia’s young workers? With stable jobs in short supply, what does the future hold for Australia’s young workers? AAP

The precariat is recruiting: youth, please apply

The term “precariat” conveys the idea that the old working class, the proletariat, has transmuted into a new social class where work and life are characterised by precariousness and risk. While the old…
The US Federal Reserve has made explicit the economic targets it wants to reach through its monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve has made explicit the economic targets it wants to reach through its monetary policy. AAP

US Fed stimulus names its targets in new policy direction

The announcement by the US Federal Reserve Bank that it would link its monetary policy to the achievement of specific economic targets beyond inflation is a new development in its approach to policy. In…
Warnings of a drop in Australia’s real GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - still provide a stark contrast to Greece, where the real GDP per capita is likely to be 25% lower in 2013 than in 2008. Warnings of a drop in Australia’s real GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - still provide a stark contrast to Greece, where the real GDP per capita is likely to be 25% lower in 2013 than in 2008. AAP

Do dire warnings of falling living standards add up to need for tax reform?

Last week, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in a preliminary version of its 2012 Economic Outlook lowered its growth forecasts for Australia from 3.7% to 3.0% in 2013. This…
The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep the cash rates unchanged tomorrow: but prominent economists say the case for a cut may be firming. The Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to keep the cash rates unchanged tomorrow: but prominent economists say the case for a cut may be firming. AAP

Hold ‘em: but case for interest rate cut strengthens

CAMA’s Shadow Board, which gives its views ahead of the decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia, continues to support the current setting of the cash rate at 3.5%. But economists are seeing a greater…
Policymakers should ensure that the safety net provides adequate income for daily needs as well as ensuring that people are positioned to quickly reintegrate into satisfactory paid employment. Policymakers should ensure that the safety net provides adequate income for daily needs as well as ensuring that people are positioned to quickly reintegrate into satisfactory paid employment. freefotouk

No through road: path to prosperity eludes America’s jobless poor

In the late 1990s, American writer and activist Barbara Ehrenreich spent a year working in low end jobs in the United States documenting the pitifully low wages, the oppression, and barriers to upward…
Australia’s economy was relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, according to data from the latest Melbourne Institute HILDA survey. Australia’s economy was relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, according to data from the latest Melbourne Institute HILDA survey. AAP

The benign effects of the “Great Recession”

In September 2008 the sudden collapse of the investment banking sector in the US would propel much of the world - especially Western economies - into the worst economic recession since the Great Depression…
Australia’s economy is in rude health - yet people’s fears of imminent economic disaster are not groundless. Australia’s economy is in rude health - yet people’s fears of imminent economic disaster are not groundless. AAP

Grim faces as GDP booms: what is happening here?

A simple line graph of the share of mining investment in Australia’s GDP reveals the scale of what our economy is going through. It shows that mining investment is now twice as large relative to GDP as…
Increasing workforce participation of women and older people could increase Australia’s GDP by $50 billion. Increasing workforce participation of women and older people could increase Australia’s GDP by $50 billion. AAP

How can Australian governments change the game for economic growth?

If Australian governments are serious about raising rates of economic growth, they must reform the tax mix and increase the workforce participation rates of women and older people. Each of these reforms…
Equal pay is not the only obstacle women face in the labour market: there’s also higher unemployment, underemployment, and heightened risk of job insecurity. Equal pay is not the only obstacle women face in the labour market: there’s also higher unemployment, underemployment, and heightened risk of job insecurity. Victor

Mind the gap, but there’s more to gender equality than pay parity

The quest for equal pay between men and women represents one of the oldest battle lines for feminism. The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) finds that women’s wages are now 17.4…
For the majority of Newstart Allowance recipients, payments barely cover the cost of rent - let alone other living expenses. For the majority of Newstart Allowance recipients, payments barely cover the cost of rent - let alone other living expenses. AAP

Paltry Newstart Allowance is fast becoming a poverty trap

Despite ongoing uncertainty about global economic conditions, prosperity in Australia remains both very high and relatively widespread. But there is one group in Australia who has not shared in our rising…
The not-for-profit Foodbank Australia represents one of the largest distributors of food to hungry Australians. But what is the role of government? The not-for-profit Foodbank Australia represents one of the largest distributors of food to hungry Australians. But what is the role of government? AAP

The average Australian wastes 200kg of food a year - yet two million of us also go hungry. Why?

Globally, more than 800 million people are chronically undernourished. And some of these people live in Australia. Of course, these people do not live in desperate refugee camps; and most do not endure…
It’s a year of mixed fortunes for Australia’s labour market. It’s a year of mixed fortunes for Australia’s labour market. AAP

Slow road to jobs growth: the true picture of unemployment in Australia

Not so long ago, when economic commentators thought about unemployment and the Australian labour market, their main question was: How low can it go? The global financial crisis was a setback to this improving…
Policy or populism? Wayne Swan may be locking himself into a misguided stance on returning to surplus. Policy or populism? Wayne Swan may be locking himself into a misguided stance on returning to surplus. AAP

Why is Wayne Swan locking himself into a return to surplus?

It is just possible that the Federal Government’s public statements about the need to get back, at all costs, to a budget surplus for the 2012-13 year are based on a grim view of the intelligence of the…
Carers lose out in the current welfare system. Carers lose out in the current welfare system. Flickr/dominikgolenia

Tax Forum: Make the social security system fair

Almost 50 cents of every dollar spent by governments in Australia goes on social spending - either social security or health and community services. This week’s tax forum must reform the system, as the…

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