Get Ready for the Full-Employment Recession
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
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Get Ready for the Full-Employment Recession

Job growth is soaring yet output is falling, by one measure. Blame a historic slump in productivity.

Mon, Jun 5, 2023 8:39amGrey Clock 4 min

You would think from May’s blowout jobs report the economy was booming.

Here’s the puzzle: Other recent data suggest it is in recession.

The dichotomy emerges from the divergent behaviour of employment and output, two key indicators of economic activity.

In May, employers added 339,000 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs added this year to nearly 1.6 million, a gain of 2.5% annualised.

But real gross domestic income, a measure of total economic activity, shrank in both the fourth quarter and the first quarter. Two negative quarters of output growth are one indicator of a recession.

The economy has gone through periods where output has expanded faster than employment, but seldom the other way around, said Ryan Sweet, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

What explains these dissonant signals is productivity, or output per hour worked: It is cratering. That raises questions about whether the much-hyped technology adoption during the pandemic and, more recently, artificial intelligence are making a difference. It also raises the risk that the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates more to tame inflation.

Labor productivity fell 2.1% in the first quarter from the fourth at an annual rate, and was down 0.8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. That is the fifth-straight quarter of negative year-over-year productivity growth—the longest such run since records began in 1948.

Those calculations are derived from gross domestic product, which shows output rising at a 1.3% annualised rate in the first quarter. But another key measure—gross domestic income—declined, implying an even bigger productivity collapse.

GDI is the yin to GDP’s yang, measuring incomes earned in wages and profits, while GDP tallies up purchases of goods and services produced. In theory, the two should be equal, since someone’s spending is another’s income.

They never exactly match because of statistical challenges. Lately, though, the divergence is dramatic. “Over the past two quarters, real GDP shows the economy expanding by 1.0%, not far off potential growth, whereas GDI shows it contracting by 1.4%, which amounts to a decent-sized recession,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. The divergence is ominous: GDI previously undershot GDP dramatically during the 2007-09 financial crisis and in the early 1990s recession, Ashworth said.

The second quarter is also shaping up to be weak. S&P Global Market Intelligence sees second-quarter real GDP expanding at a 0.8% annual rate; Morgan Stanley projects 0.3%. The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model estimates 2%. Most economists don’t forecast GDI.

Usually, employment plummets during recessions because as factories, offices and restaurants produce less, they need fewer workers. That clearly isn’t happening. “If you look at the early 2000s, that was what was called a ‘jobless recovery,’ because employment took a long time to come back even though the economy was growing,” said Sweet. “This time around it could be the opposite—the economy could be contracting, but you’re not seeing job losses.”

One reason could be labor hoarding. After struggling to hire and train workers during the pandemic-induced labor crunch, employers are now balking at letting them go, even as sales slip, given the labor market’s unusual tightness. There were 10.1 million vacant jobs in April, well above the 5.7 million people looking for work that month. Some firms—particularly services such as restaurants and travel-related businesses—ran short-staffed for the past couple of years and are still catching up.

A possible sign of this is hours worked per week, which in May fell slightly below the 2019 average, after having surged during the pandemic. This drop has been particularly sharp in retail and leisure-and-hospitality—industries that have been especially strapped for workers. The unemployment rate also rose in May, one sign of a potential cooling in the labour market.

It’s “not that technology got worse in the last year, but that businesses were selling less stuff and they’re nervous about their ability to attract employees, so they’re holding on to their employees,” said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University who served in the Obama administration. It is also plausible, he said, that the shift to working from home generated a hit to productivity, whose impact grows with the cumulative loss of creative exchange and mentoring.

Productivity growth is important in the long run because it is one of two engines of economic growth, the other being an expanding workforce. Sweet, the Oxford Economics economist, notes businesses have been spending on equipment, software and intellectual property, investments that should eventually raise productivity. Though it may take many years, so should recent advances in artificial intelligence.

A more imminent concern is that when workers produce more, companies can raise wages without increasing prices. When productivity falls, it is harder to keep inflation in check.

This could make things even more challenging for the Fed. “Companies probably have the ability to pass on higher prices to consumers if they want to,” said Neil Dutta, head of economic research at Renaissance Macro Research. “That would be problematic for the Fed.”

Moreover, if GDI is a better indicator of output than GDP, “it would mean that the economy has slowed more than we had thought, without bringing down inflation that much,” Furman said. That might mean it will ultimately take an even bigger economic pullback “to bring inflation down.”


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The Great Wealth Transfer: How rich millennials will invest the billions coming their way

The younger generation will bring a different mindset to how and where their newfound wealth is invested

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There is an enormous global wealth transfer in its beginning stages, whereby one of the largest generations in history – the baby boomers – will pass on their wealth to their millennial children. Knight Frank’s global research report, The Wealth Report 2024, estimates the wealth transfer set to take place over the next two decades in the United States alone will amount to US$90 trillion.

But it’s not just the size of the wealth transfer that is significant. It will also deliver billions of dollars in private capital into the hands of investors with a very different mindset.

Seismic change

Wealth managers say the young and rich have a higher social and environmental consciousness than older generations. After growing up in a world where economic inequality is rife and climate change has caused massive environmental damage, they are seeing their inherited wealth as a means of doing good.

Ben Whattam, co-founder of the Modern Affluence Exchange, describes it as a “seismic change”.

“Since World War II, Western economies have been driven by an overt focus on economic prosperity,” he says. “This has come at the expense of environmental prosperity and has arguably imposed social costs. The next generation is poised to inherit huge sums, and all the research we have commissioned confirms that they value societal and environmental wellbeing alongside economic gain and are unlikely to continue the relentless pursuit of growth at all costs.”

Investing with purpose

Mr Whattam said 66% of millennials wanted to invest with a purpose compared to 49% of Gen Xers. “Climate change is the number one concern for Gen Z and whether they’re rich or just affluent, they see it as their generational responsibility to fix what has been broken by their elders.”

Mike Pickett, director of Cazenove Capital, said millennial investors were less inclined to let a wealth manager make all the decisions.

“Overall, … there is a sense of the next generation wanting to be involved and engaged in the process of how their wealth is managed – for a firm to invest their money with them instead of for them,” he said.

Mr Pickett said another significant difference between millennials and older clients was their view on residential property investment. While property has generated immense wealth for baby boomers, particularly in Australia, younger investors did not necessarily see it as the best path.

“In particular, the low interest rate environment and impressive growth in house prices of the past 15 years is unlikely to be repeated in the next 15,” he said. “I also think there is some evidence that Gen Z may be happier to rent property or lease assets such as cars, and to adopt subscription-led lifestyles.”

Impact investing is a rising trend around the world, with more young entrepreneurs and activist investors proactively campaigning for change in the older companies they are invested in. Millennials are taking note of Gen X examples of entrepreneurs trying to force change. In 2022,  Australian billionaire tech mogul and major AGL shareholder, Mike Cannon-Brookes tried to buy the company so he could shut down its coal operations and turn it into a renewable energy giant. He described his takeover bid as “the world’s biggest decarbonisation project”.


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