What Covid Plan? Paul Keating seizes on the “good news” but Australia’s economy is changing for good – Michael West

Coronavirus, Covid-19, GDP, economy

Paul Keating was on Fran Kelly’s ABC radio show on Friday. He’d picked up a peculiar thing from the GDP release. The headline number was horrific. Australia’s economic growth had shrunk by 7%, the largest drop on record, wiping out four years of growth and sinking the nation, officially, into its first recession in 29 years. Keating seized on the bright spot though, or at least what he thought was a bright spot. Buried in the National Accounts data and apparently picked up by nobody, yet, were the figures for GDP per hour worked. It was an increase. Yes, an increase, and not a trifling increase either. Growth in GDP per hour worked was up from 0.6% – the average over four previous quarters – to 4.1%. It represents a fantastical rise in productivity – a seven-fold surge in productivity. Businesses have shed millions of workers so wage costs plummeted by 9.3% and wages are usually the highest cost in a business.

What Covid Plan? Paul Keating seizes on the “good news” but Australia’s economy is changing for good – Michael West

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