CBA: Fewer migrants means faster pay rises

CBA at the AFR:

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Kristina Clifton expects this shortfall in available workers means there will also be fewer people needing them compared with when our population growth was higher.

“The sharp drop in the rate of population growth means that the economy needs to generate a much lower number of jobs than usual to keep the unemployment rate steady,” Ms Clifton said.

“Pre-COVID, we needed something like 20,000 new jobs per month to keep the unemployment rate steady. Now it’s around 6000 to 7000 per month.”

Any more than this would see the unemployment rate fall and help the Morrison government achieve its fiscal repair strategy earlier than planned and relieve the Reserve Bank to some degree of the need for greater stimulus.

I agree with this in principle. I’m not confident of it simply because there is a lot of shadow slack in the labour market not captured by “unemployment”. It is underemployment that matters to wage rises today and it remains very high.

But the argument stands, the fewer migrants, the faster wages growth will return. It will just take a little longer than CBA suggests.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


    • NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

      There is such a shortage of skilled workers out there Harold, you wouldn’t believe it. ‘Skilled’ in this case means able to live on $5/hr in a badly converted garage with 8 other men.

      • There’s a shortage of the really highly skilled, productive workers. Immigration though won’t ever fix that, and certainly not the kind of mass immigration that Australia engages in. But I feel like it is used as an excuse to crush wages in this country. It’s not like the really highly skilled people of the world have Australia as their number one country to come to though, despite any “rah, rah, Aussie is number 1 in the world” propaganda.

        So Aussie continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel at the end of the day

  1. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Love how the truth slowly comes out now that covid19 has brought about the ‘unthinkable’. Golly gosh, you mean we don’t need to generate an extra two hundred thousand jobs a year (plus another two hundred thousand for all the shadow labour under the table provided by ‘students) for all the labour flooding in? Who could have known? It’s almost like the vast bulk of infrastructure crises, wage crises and job crises was exacerbated by the flood of bodies rather than them being a solution. Except for the grandparent visas, of course, because thankfully all the 65+ year old migrants we brought in to help the ‘ageing’ crisis don’t look for jobs – they just need their families to cover them for two years before they go on centrelink for the next 30 years.

    • Now now how could you forget the extremely important child minding services they provide. Unpaid. Which is a crime really costhey’re taking work away from the paid child minding economy

      • And the warmth they bring to their local communities!

        All those lovely smiles and conversing in English with the locals when they are out and about warms my heart!

    • Current immigration effectively allows 50 year old migrants to come in, work low paying (and low tax generating) jobs, get Medicare straight away, and then get a pension at 67.

      The numbers are stacked in favour of the migrant and not the locals.

      How does this work out to be in Australia’s interest?

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    And this is why we need to bring new migrants in fast and in bigger numbers than ever. Businesses are struggling and don’t need this hit to their profits.

  3. SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

    But however will we assuage our guilt???

    I for one am going to need urgent rounds of diversity training and hours of daily public broadcaster re-educational viewing. Stat!

    At least Australia Day is just around the corner. We can beat ourselves up over the sins of our distant forebears*. Sweet relief.

    *If your family arrived more recently from a non-colonizing location your are not exempt. We must all shoulder guilt and blame for being born in or moving to Australia without indigenous DNA.

    • Code ErrorMEMBER


      Assuaging Guilt Guidelines – January 2021

      Identification of responsibility for society as it currently is, including all forms of prejudice, all capital dynamics, and all historical linkages attributable to the present

      1. Find a male.
      2. Verify they are older than 30-35 (if in doubt assume they are older)
      3. Point to them
      4. Tell them (in a clear steady voice) ‘You are guilty’


      5. In some instances (and these should be deployed sparingly) it may be permissible to make concessions for race, religion, sexuality, impotence, or known facts suggestive that an individual is a decent person posing no threat to anyone, it may be appropriate to interpret 4 (above) as a simple point to the individual selected and state ‘You are lucky’ (we have found a reason not to refer to you as toxic)

      Identification of responsibility for an individual being impecunious

      1. Find a person.
      2. Verify they have expenses greater than their revenues, and are intermittently deprived of the possibility of doing something due to funding concerns.
      3. Point to them
      4. Tell them (in a clear steady voice) ‘You are guilty’


      5. In some instances (and these should be deployed sparingly) it may be permissible to make concessions for race, religion, sexuality, impotence, or known facts suggestive that an individual is a decent person posing no threat to anyone, it may be appropriate to interpret 4 (above) as a simple point to the individual selected and state ‘You are lucky’ (we have found a reason not to refer to you as poor and send you a roboletter, accuse you of being spendthrift, not working hard enough, not taking risks, not being a team player, having too many children, being a leaner etc etc etc)

      • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

        Those guidelines are very helpful Gunna and dovetail nicely. I’ll look forward to being lectured to by ABC presenters daily for I am definitely responsible for society being as it is and fit the target demographic.

      • BANG!, You’re busted! Point 1. second list.

        Person (per – son) is a no no. The new word is now, Persible. I crap you not, I had a persible, who is not the same biological birth gender as an able standing urinator (must watch my wording here), tell me this. Also, manhole and human, are also no no’s, can’t remember what their so called replacements are.

        Amen, Awomen

          • Re your comments apropos Evans Head y’day.
            My sparkie was on his hols there and had to evac the water along with loads of others – 40 bull sharks.
            Same the next day
            The water is still very turgid from all the rain we had in Dec (300-600mm depending where you were).
            Bit better at The Pass. Pity about the crowds.

          • Why not? The rational, logical, common sense, normal, types are quickly becoming the persecuted minority, or persecuted majority by the dogmatic minority. Gunnamatta’s comment points this out quite well.

          • I’m prepared to stick my neck out and say the denizens and viewers of Sky News are not the kind of people Gunna would consider endowed with a great deal of “rational, logical, common sense”.

            They do, however, like constructing straw man armies to burn down.

          • GunnamattaMEMBER


            Au contraire!

            I must confess a little secret. Some dark moonlit nights when the bats of doom sweep across the skies looking for prey amidst lightning strikes, I turn up JS Bach’s – Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (see here – – and get out in the back yard to bay at the said moon, joining in with all the other hounds in the neighbourhood. Then, rejuvenated, I like to limp inside with a dead rabbit (fur on) or cockroaches or whatever else I can catch, and place it (them) on the television and begin to shriek hysterically things along the lines of ‘Master I am your loyal servant! Bid me your will!’ and ‘He’ bids me to sit down and relax with some Alan J and Richo and the team.

            Sometimes it is so moving I need to roll up a helluva scoob……..

            It is doable, you just have to work yourself into the right mindset.

        • Wouldn’t have a clue what sky news on about. Something you brought up and continue with, and I’ll leave you to it. And you speak of straw man, that’s funny.

    • Not distant. If you grew up in the years of whitewash like I did and then started to ask questions you go through shock at the conspiracy that existed to hush everything up. Have I told this story here? When my mum started teaching in the 60s they had some day acknowledging Indigenous people and her headmaster said something like “in my day we used to shoot them” and walked off. That’s not that long ago. Lurker’s dad, Lurker is a reader here, made the last first contact in the 1970s with Wurri and Yatinga. I’m not saying the headmaster should be silenced and condemned for being a person of his time, he just told the truth. but I want to know the truth.

      • The truth is I didn’t have anything to do with any atrocities, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to apologise for them.

        • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

          Same. Nazis killed my grandfather. I have nothing against Germans or Germany. The people alive today bear zero responsibility and is is totally unreasonable to project any on them. We are where we are.

          • I think aboriginals need to talk to some Holocaust survivors and their descendants regarding dealing with trauma, particularly how they have dealt with ‘intergenerational trauma’.

        • It’s not about apologising, it’s about acknowledging they happened and had consequences.

          • Acknowledgement has never been enough, and never will be. There is a victimhood industry that needs to be fed.

          • Sure. But if you are genetically 1/24th Aboriginal but pass all the tests to be Aboriginal in society (identify, accepted by elder etc) and have a sweet cushy comfortable govt job in the big city I think there is less to apologise for and less consequences than someone who say has full aboriginal ancestry and lives remotely in substandard accommodation with worse health and lower standard of living / life expectancy.

            TL/DR – No war but the class war – help the poor of any color.

  4. Genuinely interested to see in the next few years if there is a paradigm shift away from the growthist migration GDP scam, as the old money tossbags like Fox, Trigaboff, Lew, Lowy, Gandel, etc who set their business models around this retarded economic model also start dropping off the perch.

    Cynical that there will be as their spawn will likely carry the torch, but interested to see nonetheless.

    • I actually dated one of Trigabuffs daughters friends for far too short a period. Never met her but by all accounts She was far more interested in spending and socialising than wealth building, which is possibly why the withered old skin sack has refused to step down.

      • That’s the way it generally seems to go. Three generations from rags through riches and back to rags. idiot children (take the Packers for example) have a lot to answer for.

        • Being brought up in a life of privilege hardly sets a fire in the belly to do the work necessary to create that privilege in the first place.

          • Bjw,

            It comes down to the character of the individual – and how they have been brought up / educated. One of my good mates at school had folks who were worth high 8 figures / low 9 figures. He worked his butt off – a workaholic. His sister inherited the party gene – but maybe that was misogynistic parenting!