Friday, November 09, 2007

Jobs bonanza: Full-time jobs are being created at the rate of one each minute

he Prime Minister has declared Australia an "opportunity society", not a "welfare state" as a surge in full-time jobs has pushed employment to another record high.

Official figures released yesterday show that an extra 70,600 Australians found full-time jobs in October – 57 each working working hour – the fastest rate of full-time job creation since February 1995, when Labor was in power.

Most of the new full-time workers - 57,700 – converted from part-time work.

The results suggest that employers are now demanding workers at a faster rate than the workers can be found and so are having the extend the hours of existing part-time workers instead.

Delivering an address to the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne John Howard extended his earlier promise to aim for an unemployment rate "with a three in front of it" to one of actually moving the unemployment rate down towards three per cent...

He said he Australia was in the process of becoming "an opportunity society where people not only have a job but the job of their choice."

Australia's unemployment rate edged up from 4.2 per cent to 4.3 per cent in October as 27,200 people entered the labour market looking for work, more than the 11,100 net new jobs created.

The ACT's unemployment rate fell to 2.26 per cent - its lowest level since records have been kept.

The ACT is the only state or territory with an unemployment rate below 3 per cent, and the only state or territory where unemployment has been falling all year.

Officially there are now just 4,344 people out of work in the ACT, down even further from the 4,606 out of work a month ago and way below the 6,100 jobs vacancies on offer.

At the Institute of Public Affairs the Prime Minister heralded WorkChoices as the cause of the continuing boom and said that if it vanished 200,000 to 400,000 jobs would be at risk.

The economist whose work he quoted, Professor Richard Blandy of the University of South Australia told the Canberra Times that he had come up with the figure by using regression analysis to work out how many jobs would have been created since March 2006 had WorkChoices not been introduced in that month.

He found that WorkChoices was responsible for about 290,000 of the new jobs created since its introduction and that there was 95 per cent likelihood that the true figure lay between 194,000 and 390,000.

However he rejected with the Prime Minister's claim that removing WorkChoices would place all of those jobs at risk.

"If it does have an effect, I would expect the unwind to happen much much more slowly," he said. "Partly because employers will have found out what these people who they have hired are like. They're not necessarily going to give them the bullet."

The Labor leader Kevin Rudd said that Mr Howard had again "lapsed into the negative'" in his address, offering "no prescription for the future''.

"The only employment policy they have for the future is Mr Costello's personal employment policy whereby he becomes employed as Prime Minister without facing the Australian people," he said.

As the Prime Minister spoke Australia's biggest bank, The National Australia became the first to announce that it was passing on the Reserve Bank's 0.25 per cent rate rise.

Its standard variable home loan rate will rise 0.25 per cent to 8.57 per cent today.

The government's interest rate pain will continue on Monday when the Reserve Bank spells out its concerns about the future in detail. In its quarterly economic statement.