Friday, December 09, 2011

What's going down? In Victoria jobs, demand...

The Age
Fresh evidence has emerged suggesting Victoria is holding back the national economy, endangering budget forecasts.

One day after national accounts figures showed demand in Victoria fell during a quarter when it rose in four other states, yesterday’s employment figures showed Victoria losing 30,200 workers at a time when every other state was hiring.

In the first five months of the financial year NSW put on an extra 24,100 jobs, Queensland an extra 14,400 and Western Australia an extra 2500.

So big is the contraction in Victoria that it calls into question forecasts in the mid-year budget update released just last week.

In place of the budget forecast of 500,000 new jobs over two years the update predicted 114,000 new jobs in the current financial year and 173,000 the next.

The November employment figures show five months into the financial year Australia has created 24,500 new jobs - only half as many as would be expected if the official forecasts on track...

A spokeswoman for state Treasurer Kim Wells insisted things were about to turn up saying said the government was ''implementing a clear plan" to boost the economy through increased business investment, productivity growth and job creation.

"This week alone a number of companies have announced plans to increase jobs and investment in Melbourne and regional Victoria, this will continue over the coming weeks with a series of major job announcements to be made before Christmas," she said.

Shadow Treasurer Tim Holding said the government of running down the economy after ''inheriting the engine room of jobs creation" from the previous Labor state government.

Victoria’s unemployment rate edged up from 5.4 to 5.5 per cent and the national rate from 5.2 to 5.3 per cent. Full-time employment fell 39,900 in November. Part-time employment climbed 33,600.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said the net loss of 6300 jobs was “a very small uptick in unemployment”.

“Our economy is strong, but there are impacts which flow through our economy from the events in Europe. Despite that our unemployment rate has a 5 in front of it, which is vastly different than what is going on just about everywhere in the developed world where they have, 9, 10, 14 and 15 per cent,” he said.

Men have born the brunt labour market change over the past year, losing 10,400 jobs at a time when women have gained 50,800 jobs. Part-time employment is up 55,300 while full-time employment is down 14,900.

“The labour market is far from robust,” said Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk.

“The labour force seems to be growing by around 14,000 per month. We are expecting job losses of around 17,000 per month for the rest of the financial year taking the unemployment rate to 5.75 per cent.

Published in today's SMH and Age

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