NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What's our form with recessions?

Craig James at CommSec:

"The last recession in Australia was over 17 years ago. The economy contracted over the June and September quarters of 1990, was flat in the December quarter, and then fell over the March and June quarters of 1991. Recovery was patchy for another year before the economy hit its straps in late 1992.

Overall there have been seven ‘technical’ recessions in Australia (two consecutive quarters of contraction) since 1959. Other recessions were June – September 1961, December 1965 – March 1966, December 1971 – March 1972, September – December 1975, September – December 1977 and September 1982 – June 1983.

Interestingly some of these supposed “recessions” didn’t exist at the time – they have appeared through the revision of statistics over time. The years generally regarded as recessionary periods were
1975, 1983 and 1991.

The last major slowdown in Australia occurred in 2000/01. And while the bursting of the technology bubble caused a recession in the US, the main influence on Australia was the introduction of the GST. The introduction of the consumption tax caused a number of timing issues, especially the bringing forward of house purchases and construction, causing a slump after the tax was introduced in July 2000.

The economy did contract by 0.8 per cent in December quarter 2000 but then rebounded smartly. In fact over the past 17 years there have been three occasions where the economy contracted and then subsequently rebounded – so the situations are rare but not unheard of."