Friday, May 14, 2010

Full steam ahead: 1100 new jobs per day

Australia is creating new jobs at a blistering pace of 1100 per day, just about all of them full-time.

But despite the rhetoric, very few are in the mining industry.

During a year in which 174,000 new jobs were created nationwide, only 9400 were added by mining companies.

Although many extra jobs were created in industries that serve mining including administrative services, warehousing and accommodation, Australia's biggest and fastest growing employer was the health and aged care industry, propelled by population ageing.

Employment figures released yesterday show Australia piled on an extra 37,500 full-time jobs in April; following on from 37,400 in March which was revised up from an earlier estimate of 30,100.

In the same months it lost 3800 and 9700 part-time jobs as employers made positions full-time.

Since December Australia has put an extra 110,000 people into work creating jobs at an annualised pace of 3 per cent, well in excess of the 2.5 per cent forecast in this week's budget...

Around 30,000 of the new jobs were created in NSW, the biggest chunk in the nation, as its labour market picked up pace.

The NSW unemployment rate climbed from 5.5 to 5.8 per cent but only as a result of many more people deciding it was the right time to look for work.

"It’s what you expect to see in the early phases of an upswing," said ICAP Securities economist Adam Carr.

"During a slowdown people tend to leave the job market or postpone entering it due to the difficulty of finding the job they want. In effect they fall out of the labour market, especially in two income families."

"As the economy picks up these people feel more optimistic and start looking again. It causes a blip in the unemployment rate but it's nothing to be worried about."

Australia's unemployment rate stayed broadly steady at around 5.4 per cent as an extra 40,200 people looked for work, more than meeting the 33,700 new jobs created pushing the unemployment rate up from 5.35 to 5.39 per cent.

Tasmania has the nation's highest unemployment at 5.9 per cent with Western Australia the best off state at 4.7 per cent.

The figures show that or the first time more than 11 million Australians were in work; 6 million men and 5 million women.

Marking the occasion Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard paid tribute to the "employers and unions who helped steer Australia through the global financial crisis by keeping workers engaged in the labour market".

She said the budget forecast of an unemployment rate of 4.75 per cent by June next year was in reach.

TD Securities strategist Roland Randall said it would mean the Reserve Bank would "have to hike rates again".

"The very tight labour market is going to result in rising wages which will flow through to inflation pressures," he said.

But Reserve Bank Assistant Governor Philip Lowe held out the prospect of a pause in interest rate hikes telling a Sydney audience Australia was "in the fortunate position of having the policy flexibility to be able to respond" if the problems in Europe got worse.

"The Bank will be watching carefully over the weeks and months ahead to assess how the balance of the risks is evolving," he said.

Making jobs

New full-time jobs since December Unemployment rate

NSW 28,500 5.8%
Victoria 23,500 5.3%
Queensland 26,700 5.6%
South Australia 3,800 5.6%
Western Australia 15,900 4.7%
Tasmania 2,700 5.9%

ABS 6202.0

Published in today's SMH and Age

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