The Australian “grim reaper” economy, as Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey called it today, currently has an unemployment rate of 5.2%. That is low by historical standards (average for last 30 years is 7.2%) and sits well against 7.7% in the US, 11.7% in the Eurozone and 7.3% in New Zealand, to name a few.
No one seriously expects the unemployment rate to go above 6% despite the current soft patch for growth, while the RBA and Treasury reckon it will stay near 5.5% over the next year or so.
This is a rolled gold performance in anyone’s language.
Contrast this with the US, where Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, said this morning that interest rates will be left at zero, yes zero, where they have already been for four years, and the Fed will keep printing money (US$85 billion a month in fact in quantitative easing) until the unemployment rate gets down to 6.5%. Not the “grim” 5.2% in Australia, but 6.5%.