ZB

Mike Hosking: Unemployment number doesn't tell whole story

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Nov 2021, 10:36am
(Photo / Getty Images)
(Photo / Getty Images)

Mike Hosking: Unemployment number doesn't tell whole story

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 Nov 2021, 10:36am

There is a lot of falseness about the economy. 

The jobless rate was excellent. But it looks better because we are merely soaking up the people who wanted jobs based on the fact the choice has vanished. The labour market has shrunk, the population is no longer growing, we are paddling in a smaller pool, and the pool we are paddling in is filled with $50 billion worth of printed money. 

This is why Infometrics Economist Brad Olsen is thinking we are heading for a recession. Specifically, another recession given we've already had one. 

The Government talks a lot about how good our economy is, and the sad truth is it simply isn't true. 

We entered this lockdown with a very solid bounce-back. The second quarter growth number surprised everyone. Again, it was at least partially false given the debt money flowing through the place but it did generate a 2.8% growth number. But since then, we have crashed. 

The third quarter of this year that is July, August, and September will be a negative number. In other words, all that growth built up in the first part of the year will be gone. 

Given the lockdown involves the whole country in at least Level 2, the whole country at Level 3 for a period, Waikato and Northland at 2, and Auckland still languishing, the final quarter of the year will be heavily dented as well.  

That is two consecutive quarters of going backwards. That’s a recession. Olsen's numbers have activity right now in the fourth quarter down 10%. 

They guess that the bounce-back won't be like last time. The weariness, the lack of cash reserves, and the ongoing uncertainty will have dampened, at least, some of the fizz that will have built up as we waited for freedom. 

As the Prime Minister has often said it's not how you start, it's how you end. How are we ending? At least, we're ending the year is in a recession. 

Even with the early numbers being good, if we end up with a calendar year zero figure, we'll be lucky. Remember this is in a region, the Asia Pacific, that will grow at least 6% and a global economy the IMF says will grow 5.9%.  

It's a world that economically is leaving us behind.