NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Where to search for work - the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The latest stats say one place is much better than the others

The gap between the employment conditions in the west and the rest of the nation has dramatically widened.

New Bureau of Statistics figures show Western Australia by far the best place to look for work with just 1.7 unemployed locals for each vacant job in May - a ratio that means anyone looking for a job has a better than even chance of getting one.

By contrast in NSW there were roughly four unemployed locals fighting for each vacant job, in Victoria five, and in Tasmania almost eight - a ratio that made finding a job unlikely.

So large has the pool of unfilled jobs in Western Australia grown it is now almost as big in Victoria, a state with twice the population. Queensland now has more unfilled jobs than Victoria and almost as many as NSW.

But although Australia’s mining states have by far the best employment markets, comparatively few of Australia’s 172,000 vacant jobs jobs are in mining itself... The ABS reports 9600 unfilled jobs in mining, 12,000 in manufacturing, 13,000 in health care and social assistance, 14,000 in retail and 18,000 in administrative and support services.

Two fields related to mining report big demand for workers. The construction industry is attempting to fill 20,000 vacancies and the scientific and technical services industries another 20,000.

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