Mark Twain famously said, “There are lies, damn lies and statistics”, meaning you can make any statistics tell whatever truth you want.
Trouble with that is there is normally a scientific mathematical method involved and that would then be hard to actually suborn the data to make it show something else than the truth.
I have a very sound regard for the Australian Bureau of Statistics which has produced some very worthwhile and normally decent sets of data about Australia in it’s many publications, yet I now have a serious problem with the publication of the Monthly labour Force Statistics 6202.0 (Source Australian bureau of Statistics).
Earlier this in this Election year (the first term of the Abbott government) I thought that I would track the job creation claim of Tony Abbott of 1 million jobs over 5 years. That is an average of 200,000 new jobs every year or 547 jobs a day.
At first blush it looks like a very large claim but as I had done some work on the Job creation statistics under the last 4 years of Howard’s government and the job creation under the Rudd/Gillard governments, I looked back at the figures.
So is this an extravagant claim? The answer is no its not.
Here are the increases by year of jobs.
Source ABS cat no 6265.0 Underemployed Workers Australia.
As you can see the Jobs growth in 2005 to 2008 was over 200,000 per annum and so Abbott’s claim of creating those 200,000 (1 Million in 5 years) was not an extravagant claim IF, and it’s a big IF the Australian economy returned to the growth of the early 2000’s.
At the end of 2008 the GFC had hit and the 2009 job figures show that it was a sluggish year for jobs growth. With only 129,100 jobs created in that year. However as a result of the February 2009 stimulus package the jobs growth in 2010 showed an increase of 525,600 jobs.
However when the stimulus package came off the Jobs growth again fell in 2011 and 2012 to 117,000 and 64,700 respectively. 2013 Showed a growth of 123,200 jobs. The Abbott government came to power in September 2013.
The bullet had been dodged and the Economy never entered Recession (negative growth).
Despite Joe Hockey’s bluster and bluff, the economy hasn’t really picked up under a Liberal national Government and it could be argued that the liberals have been a severe drain on Business confidence. China isn’t buying as much Iron Ore and its now down to $77 a tonne and the prospects for thermal coal are also dismal with the uptake of renewable Solar and Wind energy in good prospect through the world.
In a recent European holiday in France and Spain the roofs of factories were covered with solar panels and the ridges and hills were adorned with wind turbines.
I only mention this because they are a huge source of investment and Job creation, yet these Economic geniuses in Canberra deny that there is climate change and so deny the switch to the renewable energy sources the rest of the world is embracing.
You will notice that I have used the underemployment Statistics which come out yearly. The latest release was in February 2014 and reported as at September 2013.
This report not only shows people employed it also shows people who are underemployed which is another guide to the health of the economy. In the 2012 there were 783,900 people who had a job but were underemployed. In 2013 this had risen to 875,200 people, an increase of 91,300 and the number of jobs only increased by 123,200. So only 31,900 of those jobs were full time.
If we look at these figures and couple them with the unemployed figures of 764,100 (ABS catalogue 6202.0 Labour force Australia) we have 1,639,300 people in Australia looking for work or more work.
Looking at another ABS publication (ABS 6354.0 Job vacancies Australia) in August 2014 we have vacancies in the Private and Public sector of 147,200. Yet we also have 875,200 people underemployed and 764,100 people unemployed.
It is with this in mind that we must look at the policies of the Abbott Government and again turn to the basics of Economics.
For an economy to function and grow, the participants in that economy must consume goods produced by that economy.
Simple stuff really. And even with the liberalisation of world trade, country’s still protect their industries. Every Car manufacturing country in the OECD gives financial assistance to their car manufacturers. Either in direct subsidies or in Tax breaks. Yet this government destroys jobs by pulling financial assistance from them and destroying at least 50,000 jobs when Holden and Toyota leave in 2016.
For people to consume they must, by necessity earn a decent wage. Yet the liberals and their followers the Nationals seem to think that driving wages down will make the economy function better. They want to make Job seekers (all 764,100 of them) to apply for 40 jobs a month. That’s 30 million Job applications for 146,200 available jobs. They dropped that today (7th Sep 2014) to 20 applications per month and now those job seekers will only have to do 15 million applications for 146,200 jobs. What a complete nonsense that is.
I have been saying for sometime now that Joe Hockey is an Economic illiterate and should be sacked as Treasurer. I think that Eric Abetz is also incompetent. The facts above show his complete lack of intelligence.
It would be hard to refute the argument that these nincompoops are driven by their ideology rather than by logical and detailed policy work.
Where is the liberal party plan to create the million jobs? The short answer to that is that it doesn’t exist and probably never will because they have neither the intellect nor the academic ability to understand a set of figures which when analysed stick out like a beacon shouting “DO SOMETHING YOU FOOLS”
But I have digressed from the major point I wanted to make and that is about Tony Abbott’s claim of 1 million jobs in 5 years.
When I came back from my European jaunt I completed the spreadsheet I had started before I went away and started to post about.
Here is the result of the upgrade.
Year Month Full time Jobs Part time Jobs Total Jobs Year to Date %age completion
created/Lost created/Lost. created/Lost. Jobs created/Lost of budgeted jobs
2013 Sept 5000 4100 9100 9100 72%
2013 Oct -27900 28900 1000 10100 34%
2013 Nov 15500 5500 21000 31100 68%
2013 Dec -31600 9000 -22600 8500 13%
2014 Jan -7100 3400 -3700 4800 6%
2014 Feb 80500 -33300 47200 52000 54%
2014 Mar -22100 40200 18100 70100 62%
2014 April 14200 0 14200 84300 65%
2014 May 22200 -27000 -4800 79500 55%
2014 Jun -3800 19700 15900 95400 59%
2014 Jul 14500 -14800 -300 95100 53%
2014 Aug 14300 106700 121000 216100 110%
Source Abs 6202.0 Labor Force Australia. Monthly Statistics. Seasonally adjusted data.
As you can see the table is made up of figures from Individual months. The full time jobs and the part time jobs are aggregated to give the number of jobs created/Lost during a given month. I have included columns for year to date jobs created from the data and also a Year to date from Abbott’s claim of 200,00 jobs in a year.
As you can see the figures are very eratic and the part time and the full time jobs yo-yo around from month to month.
In the month of January there was a loss of 7100 full time jobs and a gain of 3400 part time ones. Don’t forget that these may also be jobs where the workers are also underemployed. At this stage Tony Abbott had achieved 6% of his jobs budget and it wasn’t looking good.
February was, however a great month with the creation of 80,500 new jobs in that month and a reduction of 33,300 part-time jobs giving a net increase of 47,200 jobs. Abbott’s budget had gone from 6% to 54%. I was astonished at this and as is my wont, went back in the figures of the monthly job creation stats in the ABS data since 1993 and found that NEVER HAD A NUMBER OF FULL OR PART TIME JOBS OF THAT CONSEQUENCE HAD BEEN CREATED IN 21 YEARS I LOOKED AT.
In June I went overseas and so I didn’t follow it up, figuring that it may have been in fact true – Until I did the figures for August 2014. Abbots budgeted jobs target was at 53% and not looking good, but in August there were 14,300 full time jobs created and 106,700 part time jobs created. As I said never before had this many jobs in a month been created. Those are comparable to yearly figures as shown in the yearly releases of ABS 5265.0 above.
So the alarm bells started ringing. It looked too cute that just before the year’s stats were up Abbott miraculously attained 110% of his Jobs budget.
Common sense says if it looks too good to be true it normally is. One set of large figures I could accept as an anomaly but two huge sets of figures over a 21 year period. Sorry that stretches credulity. Especially when one looks at the figures per year and the number of job vacancies per month. Its just too cute for words.
In defense of the ABS they actually mention the huge figure and say they have review the results.
Read this to see what they have to say.
Addendum added @ 9.35 pm 8/10/2014.
This afternoon I was browsing twitter when I came across the following article in the ABC.
“It will also reset the seasonal adjustment for July and August to one, meaning that these months will also reflect the original figures.
Excluding any other revisions, that change will take July’s previously reported unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent back to 6 per cent, and August’s 6.1 per cent jobless rate also down to 6.
Participation – the proportion of those aged over 15 in work or looking for it – will also have remained steady over winter at 64.7 per cent, rather than jumping between 64.8 and 65.2 per cent.
The biggest change will be to August’s outsized jobs growth of 121,000, which will be revised back down to a more typical, but still strong, 32,100.”
At 10pm I checked the ABS catalogue and it has yet to be changed to reflect the dumping of the seasonally adjusted figure.
There is a big difference between 121,000 and 32,100 a difference of 88,900 to be precise.