Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That $20 million cut to the ABS

It is real enough, but it isn't a razor gang cut as initially reported.

The government's razor gang may or may not announce cuts of that order in the Budget on May 13, but the ABS is getting in early.

The Bureau has told a Canberra journalist that the $20 million cut is an "independent savings drive", and that the efficiency dividend would only see it lose about $6 million, but they're going beyond to find bigger savings because their surveys have become more expensive to run.

Nevertheless, the cuts are pretty awful:
"In a measure expected to save $1.5 million, the sample size of one of the bureau's most keenly watched surveys, its monthly jobs survey, will be reduced by almost a quarter from about 30,000 households to 23,000 households.

This is expected to increase the uncertainty surrounding its estimates for employment and unemployment by 15 per cent."

There is good discussion of it at Andrew Leigh's blog, here.

What really annoys me is the way it was (barely) announced.

I make good use of the Job Vacancies Survey.

I should have paid more attention to this "note" at the bottom.


The Survey of Job Vacancies will not be conducted during 2008-09. The May 2008 issue of this publication, which is scheduled to be released on 26 June 2008, will be the final issue for 2007-08. The survey may be reinstated in 2009-10."
What sort of consultation did they do? ??