The Kouk's top 40 hits and misses

more Over the summer break, while fiddling through data bases, reading and just being interested in things, I unearthed a few quirky bits and pieces about the Australian economy, people, sport

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Australia's unemployment rate - no longer the envy of the world

Fri, 23 Sep 2016

This article first appeared on the Yahoo 7 website at this link: 


Has the gloss finally worn off the Aussie economy?

Having rubbed shoulders with global leaders at the G20 meeting in China, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said "Our economic performance is the envy of most of those countries around the G20 table. There are very few developed nations that have economic performance as strong as Australia's”.

Mr Turnbull is wrong.

There is no doubt that for the bulk of the past couple of decades, Australia has been a star performer with continuous economic growth, sound budget settings and rising incomes. Australia was one of very few countries to avoid recession during the global financial crisis in the period from 2008 to 2010.

More recently, the gloss has warn off the Australian economy. This is most notably showing up in the unemployment rate which remains higher today than during the GFC. In most other G20 countries, the unemployment rate has fallen as economic recovery has gained traction.

Year 12 students - don't take that gap year! It's expensive

Tue, 20 Sep 2016

Year 12 students are flat out - preparing for final exams and life after school. Some are planning to go straight to university, others are looking to take a 'gap year' before going uni.

Below is a short extract from my book, Myth Busting Economics, about the cost of taking a gap year. Read it and think. 

And if you want a copy of my book, it is available here: 


A gap year? Don't do it!

A common notion for some students when they finish Year 12 is to have a so-called gap year. That is, they take a year off to do something different and postpone the decision to start university by a year. That is all fine and again, it is your choice, but it is worth thinking about the cost of doing so. Let’s look at a stylised example of the cost of a gap year.

There are two people, they have just finished Year 12, have equal abilities, achieved the same university entry score, aim to do the same three year degree and when they finish their degrees, they will get a job where the starting salary is around the average for university graduates in 2013 at $52,500 a year. One goes straight to university, the other takes a gap year, traveling around Europe and generally bumming around home.

Let’s fast forward four years.