Monday, March 26, 2012

Technical note: The employment-to-population ratio is sliding

Remember those headlines in January about 2011 being the worst year for jobs growth in two decades? (I wrote some of them.)

Since then all manner of people have said - ah yes, but population growth was low, so looking at the employment-to-population ratio, the growth wasn't that bad.

The ABS appeared to lend weight to that view in a paper published in February.

But the paper never actually made that claim.

An FOI seach (for which the ABS generously did not charge) has unearthed a graph used in the genesis of the ABS paper but not published in the paper.

It shows that on an employment-to-population ratio basis, 2011 was the second-worst year for job creation in two decades.

Not enough to invalidate the headlines.

2011 was a rotten year however you look at it.

Related Posts

. Bleak Christmas? For job seekers it was the worst in 20 years

. January: Jobs. Things aren't good, yet

. February. Jobs flat as a tack with unemployment set to rise


Anonymous said...

Hey Pete

Just a couple of points.

1) not that I want to split hairs but its actually the 4th out of the 7 years there has been a decline. (1991, 1992, 1996, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011). 91, 92, 09 were larger declines. An optimist would say, the 4th smallest decline.

2) I think when you compare the rates of employment over time the headlines about dire employment growth in 2011 are a tad misleading. As an example, If you compare the rates of employment of 2011 to 1992 the percentage of the population as a whole that was employed was a touch over 62% in 2011 and a touch over 58% in 1992. This means that there was 4% more of the population employed in 2011 when compared to 1992. In fact, 2011 was the third highest rate of employment in the last 2 decades, only 2007 and 2008 were higher. 

Like all statistics they can be twisted to fit whatever narrative, but I think we should be honest here, the labour market in Australia is in reasonably good shape.

The Lorax said...

I remember this story of yours Peter...

Jobs market stalls not. Dodgy figure.

That's quite a turnaround in your attitude in less than 12 months.

I see (above) that some people still haven't grasped that our glorious mining boom hasn't delivered the jobs bonanza as promised.

Peter Martin said...

it is a turnaround because the labour market turned around (turned down actually). In May 2001 that was far from clear.

The Lorax said...

its been flat as a tack since November 2010

Check out this graph

Peter Martin said...

Now we believe that to be the case. Back then it had not been flat as a tack since November 2010. I was outlining what we knew then. Here's how it was graphed at the time.

Anonymous said...

Answer me this, is the share of the population that are employed, more or less now when compared to the early 00's, 90's, 80's, or 70's?

Who mentioned the mining boom...not I, all I did was point out that employment is high by historic comparison....was I wrong?

Peter Martin said...

It's more. Back in the 1970s there weren't that many women working.

In the last year it went backwards. The number of people in work grew not at all while the number of people of working age continued to grow.

The Lorax said...

Bill Evans had it right in April 2011. He had already noted the three months of weak employment growth that everyone else (including your good self) rubbished.

Look at your comments from April 2011. Ain't the internet grand? At least you edit your old blog posts like CJ.

Sorry Anon. Fair call, you didn't mention the mining boom. You were caught in the cross-fire of 18 month long argument with Peter about employment growth.

The Lorax said...

Ooops, that should have said...

At least you don't edit your old blog posts like CJ.

My kingdom for an edit button!

Post a Comment