Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Victoria - where jobs are vanishing

The 40 jobs to be lost from the Melbourne plant of car axle manufacturer Unidrive next month and the 80 jobs to be lost at Bosch's PBR are part of something much bigger.

A count by The Age of announced job cuts in Victoria so far this year has topped 4,500 – almost 2,000 of them in the motor vehicle industry.

Holden and Ford combined are cutting 880 jobs and their suppliers including South Pacific Tyres and Unidrive are cutting jobs partly as a result.

While most of the jobs to be lost are in manufacturing, around 900 are in the service sector, including 30 at Melbourne University, 70 in the state Department of Primary Industries, and 360 at Bendigo’s Excelcior Call Centre.

Victoria’s announced job losses dwarf those of every other state and are consistent with official employment figures showing that Victoria is the only state to have lost full-time jobs over the last six months, losing 16,200 full-time jobs at a time when the rest of the nation gained 90,500...

At least two of the announced job cuts in Victoria will directly benefit other states. Boeing and Diners Club are moving their operations out of Victoria to Sydney.

The Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu says they are voting with their feet.

“Victoria is losing its competitive edge and companies clearly believe they can do better for themselves in other states,” he said yesterday.

“Labor has made Victoria a bad place to do business and it will only become more expensive in the future.”

Employment forecasts put Victoria and Tasmania at the bottom of the heap in the year ahead.

Access Economics has Victoria’s employment growth eclipsed by South Australia and NSW as well as the two resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia.

But crucially, Access – like most other private forecasters – still expects Victoria’s employment to grow. Access has it growing by an extra 34,300 in the year ahead. The ANZ Bank has it growing by 47,500.

It’s growth, but it won’t be enough to cover the 48,000 newly-minted job seekers who are expected to need work in the year ahead.

Victoria’s unemployment rate is bound to rise, and at 4.6% is already well above the national average of 4.1%.

The ANZ’s Mark Rodrigues says the relatively poor outlook isn’t surprising.

Victoria has little direct exposure to the mining boom, it is relatively highly reliant on manufacturing which is suffering at the hands of the high dollar, and along with NSW it is heavily exposed to the finance sector which has been hit by the worldwide credit crunch.

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