Panic Merchants, Note ... We Are in Recession but Residents Have More Money to Spend, Economics Guru Advises

Article excerpt

WELL-KNOWN economics commentator Michael Pascoe believes Australia is in a recession, but he has pleaded for the panic merchants to maintain some perspective.

Mr Pascoe made a flying visit to the Coast last week to speak at the Understanding Contemporary Property course hosted by University of the Sunshine Coast.

He is no stranger to the region and has a holiday unit at Sunshine Beach.

Mr Pascoe said balance and perspective were vital in a year that had been full of bad economic news.

"There is a lot of focus on the rising unemployment rate...understandably so," he said.

"Remember back to May last year when Wayne Swan was putting together his first budget?

"The biggest problem facing him then was a shortage of labour, causing inflation, and we certainly solved that problem.

"The unemployment rate in May last year was 3.9%, a multi-generational low.

"Twelve months later, how many jobs have been lost? None.

"There is too much focus on the unemployment rate instead of looking at the number of employed people.

"Our workforce has grown and the vast majority of people have good, secure jobs."

Mr Pascoe said business was often quick to panic about a perceived lack of money circulating in the economy.

"The reality is disposable household income is higher," he said.

"That's because of interest rates, lower petrol prices, the Rudd bonus and tax cuts. …