Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boxing Day is always a big news day.

And not only because it's the start of the Sydney to Hobart.

Believe it or not the number of pages of news in a newspaper is usually determined not by the amount of worthwhile news that has just happened, but by the total number of pages in the paper that day which is itself determined by the number of pages of advertising.

That's why Boxing Day is always a HUGE news day. There has to be a lot of it to fill the pages created to balance the advertising.

All through last week my colleagues and I have been spiriting away "holders" stories saved up for the big day.

Last year I did tax expenditures.

This year it's hidden unemployment (below the fold)

Have a great one!

Around 10,000 ACT residents are available to work, but haven’t yet found a job. 8,000 of them can start within four weeks.

The new survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics casts doubt on the widely held belief that the ACT labour market is “as tight as drum”.

Officially there are only 5,374 people unemployed in the ACT residents, fewer than the 6,100 job vacancies on offer.

But the latest ABS survey on Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation finds that there are another 9,600 ACT residents not working who want paid work but haven’t bothered to describe themselves as unemployed.

Nationwide there are about one million people not working and not regarded as unemployed who would like paid work - 720,000 of them available to start within four weeks.

In addition there are about 273,000 part-time workers who would like to work longer hours.

Taken together with the official unemployment numbers the figures suggest that around 1.7 million Australians are available for extra work, 1.3 million able to start within weeks.

Of those not able to start quickly the most important reasons are childcare and long-term sickness or injury.

85,700 would-be workers, mostly men, said they had given up looking because they were “considered too old by employers.”

77,000 would-be workers felt they didn’t have the right training, qualifications or experience.

The figures suggest that the pool Australia’s under-used workers has barely changed in the past few years of rapid employment growth.

Taken at face value they suggest that WorkChoices has been unsuccessful at enticing into the labour market people who have remained outside it.

They give ammunition to the new Employment Minister Julia Gillard who wants who wants to use training and job-ready programs to get more Australians into the labour force.

The previous government abolished Labor’s Working Nation programs shortly after taking office in 1996.

The latest employment figures show that jobs growth stood still in the ACT in 2007 with the number of Canberra residents in work actually falling over the year while increasing in every other state.

In November a net 52,600 new jobs were filled nationally, none of them in the ACT.

Over the year to November an extra 298,800 Australians found work, with substantial increases in every state and territory other than the ACT.

Over the year an extra 8,100 Tasmanians found jobs, an extra 7,100 Northern Territorians, an extra 15,900 South Australians, an extra 33,500 West Australians an extra 74,700 Queenslanders, an extra 92,200 Victorians and an extra 68,200 residents of NSW.

Amongst ACT residents employment fell by 895.

The results appear to indicate a mismatch between the type of jobs on offer and the people making themselves available to fill them.

With the ACT’s housing market tight it is difficult for the right candidates to find the accommodation that they would need to fill the jobs.

Recent Commonwealth Public Service job advertisements have stated that the successful applicant “may choose to commute”.

The latest national accounts suggest that that ACT economy stopped growing between the June and September quarters, possibly as a result of the stalled labour market.

The Territory's seasonally-adjusted state final demand slid 1.9 per cent between the two quarters. In trend terms it was flat.

Two quarterly contractions in a row would be regarded as a “demand recession”. The next quarterly national accounts are due for release in March.