Friday, January 15, 2010

If the Employment Minister and the Assistant Treasurer don't know what the employment forecasts are...

...I guess we don't need to know either.

Rest assured it's not only Tony Abbott who skimps on his research.

On Tuesday Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry appeared on ABC 2 Breakfast.

Asked what might happen to unemployment he said:

"The forecast for this year is that unemployment will reach just over 8 per cent in the second half of this year, that's the economic forecast for the end of year."

After embarrassing nodding by one interviewer and another question the other one came back with:

You're not expecting now that unemployment will get anywhere near 8 per cent are you?

The Assistant Treasurer's answer:

Well the forecast from the MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Financial Review) is for it to just reach over 8 per cent and we haven't and we haven't varied that yet. We haven't changed that forecast.

He said he had given up smoking.

He was presumably referring to the May Budget forecast of 8 1/2 per cent, which was superceded by 6 3/4 in the mid-year review.

Watch it here, search for the word "Sherry". It's excruciating, for the ABC interviewers as well.

But wait. There's more. The Employment Minister herself isn't too sure about the employment forecast. Really.

Here she is on NewsRadio two days after Sherry's gaffe.

"The first Treasury projection about the impact of the global financial crisis and global recession in this country was that we would see unemployment to 8.5 per cent...  Now they revised that forecast of the peak down so when we published Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook last year the new Treasury projection is for unemployment go to 6.5 per cent by the middle of this year."

No they didn't.  They revised it down to 6 3/4 per cent:

I've written this and included the photocopies for the record.

The way the ministers talk I run the risk of not being believed when I report the actual forecasts.


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