I’m going live at 9.30am Queensland time this morning (Friday 21/1/22) to discuss the big economic issues of the week, particularly:
- Australia’s strong pre-omicron labour force figures from the ABS for December, although they weren’t much comfort given the current “shadow lockdown” and supply-chain crisis, driven by a combination of fear and government regulations regarding isolation requirements for close contacts (a problem augmented by a lack of Rapid Antigen Tests, arguably reflective of poor planning by our governments)*;
- UK CPI inflation at its highest rate since 1992; and
- the German 10 year bond yield turning positive (at least for one day) for the first time since mid-2019 in expectation of higher inflation and interest rates.
Other news I should mention is that it looks increasingly likely Russia will invade the Ukraine with expectations this will send oil and gas prices even higher.
So please consider tuning in at 9.30am Queensland time for my latest thoughts on the economic outlook. You can watch via the YouTube player below.
As a reminder of happier pre-omicron days, here’s a chart of the unemployment rates for the major states estimated by the ABS for December and published yesterday. Queensland’s unemployment rate of 4.7% is higher than the national average of 4.2% but it’s still a good result in terms of the historical data in recent decades, being the state’s lowest unemployment rate since early 2009. (We also need to recognise sampling error is a bigger deal at the state level, too.) The big question now, of course, is how long the omicron wave lasts and how much economic damage it does, as I’ll discuss in my livestream. The expectation or rather hope is that this wave is over in a few weeks and the economy bounces back strongly.
Regarding the shadow lockdown, that appears to be worse in southern states than in Queensland (see chart below including data up to Monday 17/1), based on Google Mobility data, although Brisbane City is certainly suffering worse than the state-wide data would suggest, as is clear from Google’s regional breakdown which I’ll discuss in the livestream.
*I should note there has been some relaxation of requirements for “critically essential workers” (see the Qld Health advice) in the last week and a bit.
Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to email@example.com. Also please check out my Economics Explored podcast, which has a new episode each week.