Heard about this indicator on National Radio Morning Report programme this morning and is another variable that can be useful to gauge the state of the economy. The ANZ Truckometer is a set of two economic indicators derived using traffic volume data from around the country. Traffic flows are a real-time and real-world proxy for economic activity –particularly for the New Zealand economy, where a large proportion of freight is moved by road. It represents an extremely timely barometer of economic momentum. The ANZ Heavy Traffic Index shows a strong contemporaneous relationship to GDP, while the ANZ Light Traffic Index has a six month lead on activity as measured by GDP. Notice the change around 2007/08 with the GFC.
Here is graph from a presentation at the University of Waikato Teachers Day. It shows the milk volume, the profit, and the risk involved. Notice the minimum risk and maximum profit points as well as a social optimum
The US economy has had the highest sustained level of unemployment since the Great Depression of the 1930′s. One reason for this has been the significant increase in income inequality as there is a redistribution of income from low income families to high income families. When you consider the proportion of income that is spent by both groups you will find that the lower income groups consume a much greater percentage of the their income than their higher income counterparts. Therefore we take more consumption out of the economy with slower growth and ultimately a loss of jobs = higher unemployment. Here is a clip from Paul Solman of PBS.
Grant Cleland in the November Monthly Economic Review focused on the Tourism Industry in New Zealand. Here are some figures which outline its importance to the New Zealand economy.
The direct value-added contribution to GDP of the tourism industry was $7,250 million in the year ended March 2013, or approximately 3.7 percent of GDP. When the indirect value-added effects* of $9,805 million are included, the total contribution of the tourism industry was 8.7 percent of GDP. The contribution of the tourism industry to GDP (including both direct and indirect contributions) peaked at 9.9 percent in the year ended March 2003.
International tourism expenditure in the year ended March 2013 contributed 16.1 percent of New Zealand’s export receipts of both goods and services for that year. As such, it is one of New Zealand’s largest export earners. Statistics New Zealand ranked international tourism export receipts second in terms of export value, behind dairy products (including casein) which had exports totaling $12,349 million in the year ended March 2013. Meat and meat product exports equaled $5,279 million in the March year.
* these are the intermediate purchases of the ‘accommodation’ and ‘cafes and restaurants’ industries include items such as electricity, bedding, and food purchased from other industries or imports. Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Last week I attended a PD for Teachers hosted by the University of Waikato Economics Department. Amongst the presentations was one on Developments in Environmental Policy. Questions were asked as to what is the Economic Way of Thinking about Pollution:
* What is the ‘efficient’ level of pollution?
* Rarely zero – choices have to be made* How should we get there?
* How can this be achieved at least cost?
* Who should bear the cost?
One particular example that was presented was the “Nutrient emissions reduction scenarios in the North Sea”. Ultimately for economists it is a cost benefit analysis with – Marginal Abatement Costs v Marginal Damage Costs (See graph below).
Theoretical representation of different management positions based on economic considerations and different interpretations of the precautionary principle (assuming that all cost can be expressed in monetary terms). Marginal abatement costs (ranging between AC1 and AC2) and marginal damage costs to the environment (ranging between DC1 and DC2) are shown
The letters on the horizontal axis represent the following:
A = Strict Precautionary Principle (As near as possible to pristine condition)
B = Precautionary Principle implemented through the best available technology
B – C = Safety Margin
C – E = Risk threshold zone of uncertainty
D = Implementation of the best available technology not entailed excessive costs for society
F – G = Economic Optimal zone
H = Implementation of the best available technology not entailing excessive private costs
Many thanks to colleague David Parr for this animation on how the stock exchange works from the visual.ly site. Well worth a look.
From National Public Radio (NPR) in the US. Part of their website has a section called “Planet Money – The Economy Explained”. In the clip below they talk about the whole process of making a T shirt.
The Planet Money men’s T-shirt was made in Bangladesh, by workers who make about $3 a day, with overtime. The Planet Money women’s T-shirt was made in Colombia, by workers who make roughly $13 a day, without overtime. The wages in both places are remarkably low by U.S. standards. But the gap between them is huge. Workers in Colombia make more than four times what their counterparts make in Bangladesh. In our reporting, we saw that the workers in Colombia have a much higher standard of living than the workers in Bangladesh.
You can view the Interactive documentary by clicking the link below: