Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NSW leads the nation? It may be leading us out

Belying its reputation as Australia's economic basket case NSW is leading the nation in the advertising of new jobs.

Just a day after Commonwealth Securities named NSW the worst performing state in the nation the ANZ count of newspaper job advertisements showed it had stacked on more job ads than any other since the low point in July.

Whereas in July Sydney's newspapers carried a seasonally-adjusted 1940 ads per week, by December that had climbed to 3020 - a jump of 56 per cent in just five months.

By contrast advertising in Victoria jumped 38 per cent from its low in May and ads in Western Australia 37 per cent, also from a low in May.

Only in the Northern Territory did job advertising bounce back faster... more than doubling between February and December to 520 per week.

"We're leading the national recovery," said Acting Treasurer John Hatzistergos. "We're the only State to record consecutive increases over the past five months. Premier Keneally has made it clear her priority is jobs."

Commonwealth Securities found NSW to be the worst-performing state by comparing its present performance with its average over the past decade.

Mr Hatzistergos said the measure was unfair because it avoided direct comparisons with other states.

"Historically we’ve performed very well but the global financial crisis hit us the hardest because we are the finance capital of Australia," he said.

Nationally ANZ's measure of newspaper job advertisements has climbed 34 per cent from its trough and the measure of internet advertisements 16 per cent.

"Total job advertisements are now well past the low reached in July 2009 and are continuing to improve month on month," said ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan. "This is already translating into employment growth and helping to keep the unemployment rate relatively stable despite accelerating population and labour force growth."

The ANZ expects Thursday's official December employment figures to show an extra 30,000 Australians in work, enough to keep the unemployment rate steady at 5.7 per cent.

"The surprising strength of recent jobs growth has seen forecasts for peak unemployment come down considerably," said Mr Hogan. "On current trends, it will probably peak at no more than 6 per cent, considerably better than the 7 to 8 per cent widely feared just a year ago."

NSW and Queensland have Australia's highest unemployment rates at 6.0 and 6.1 per cent.

UBS Australia economist Scott Haslem predicted a rapid improvement, saying Australia might add as many as 50,000 extra jobs per month for the next few months.

"Along with strong retail and housing data and improving US and strong China data this leaves us expecting a further rate rise from the Reserve Bank in February," he said.

A further rate rise of 0.25 points would add a further $47 per month to the cost of servicing a $300,000 mortgage on top of the $135 to $185 added since October. It would push the standard Westpac rate above 7 per cent.

The Reserve Bank board will meet in Sydney on February 2 for the first time since December.

Job ads bounce back

NSW 56%
Victoria 38%
Western Australia 37%
South Australia 26%
Tasmania 26%
Queensland 10%

ANZ newspaper job advertisement count
Seasonally-adjusted, recovery since trough

Published in today's SMH 

CommSec State of the States January 2010

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