Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The OECD's take

Yesterday I had a go at estimating what the drop in New Zealand GDP had been during the June quarter, when the lockdowns were in place. Meanwhile, in Paris, the OECD was just putting to bed its Employment Outlook 2020 (best link here, others got on my wick with overenthusiastic use of dynamic charts and highlighted text), and they helpfully included this chart of what they think happened in June across the OECD. 

They have the New Zealand June decline at -15%: yet another sign that our June quarter wasn't quite as bad as it originally shaped up to be. It's also, despite the relative stringency of our lockdown, not too bad an outcome by OECD standards: the median decline across the OECD was -12.9%. If you'd like the raw data to play with they're here.


The OECD report also had this interesting chart on use of wage subsidy (and similar) schemes. We're right over there on the left hand side as a big user.


That's fine by me - it was IMHO a completely appropriate and even necessary fiscal response, and especially by New Zealand's chronic micromanagement standards a remarkably quick, simple and effective one. And it's interesting to see that nearly all of the other countries (ex France and Germany) went the same hassle-free 'ask no questions' route and approved virtually every application that came in.

As things stand, the wage subsidy scheme won't be available for much longer (last applications close on September 1): at the moment I can't see how it can sensibly be wound up without some replacement made available for the worst of the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors.

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