January 19, 2014

Snapshot of the Australian job market 2013 Part 1

Our first snapshot of the Australian jobs market in 2013, covering the total figures of the workforce, where in Australia they are and the status of both the employment growth and unemployment rates.

jobsThe annual Australian Jobs publication provides valuable insights into the Australian labour market.

This year’s report reveals how Australia’s economy and labour market are strong and that there are significant numbers of people employed in jobs that do not require post school education nor training.

Headlines from the report are as follows:

1. More Australians are currently in work than ever before

More than 11.5 million Australians are employed, with employment having risen by more than 50% in the last 20 years.

Almost a third of today’s workforce are working part time, with just under half being female.

Employment profile of the 11.5 million are as follows:

• Part time 32%
• Full time 68%
• Female 46%
• Male 54%

2. The Eastern Seaboard has a high concentration of the workforce

More than three quarters of workers are employed in the 3 most populous states of NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Employment has risen in all states and territories in the last 5 years, with the biggest number of new jobs being in NSW with 227 900 of them, a 6.7% increase in 5 years. Employment growth, however, was most significant in Western Australia, up 15.4%.

3. It’s a changing labour market

There has been significant change over the last 20 years with the increased participation of women in the workforce, a bigger focus on skilled jobs, an increase in young people’s involvement in education and the ageing population.

The significant leaps in technology, improved flexibility and economic reforms have all considerably changed working arrangements.

4. Recent labour market developments show a slowing labour market but within a worse global context

At the start of the Global Financial Crisis in late 2008, labour market conditions in Australia deteriorated, and the unemployment rate rose to 5.9% in June 2009. However, Australia wasn’t as bad off as most other advanced economies and saw some strong recovery in 2010.

That, however, has not been maintained and the market here in Australia has softened with the ongoing uncertainty and volatility on global financial markets and poor global growth.

Consequently, compared with a 20 year average employment growth rate of 2.2%, employment growth in Australia has been reasonably low, with only a 1.7% annual increase to Feb 2013.

It makes sense therefore that the unemployment rate has crept up slowly over the last year with 5.4% in Feb 2013 versus 5.2% back in Feb 2012. But given the global context of Europe’s 12% and the US’s 7.9% unemployment rates in February this year, Australia isn’t faring as badly.

Even more recent data from the ABS Labour Force reveals how since February the unemployment rate has deteriorated further, with 5.6% in May 2013 and 5.7% in June 2013.

Watch this video from Daily Edition, where the June unemployment figures are discussed in more detail, along with the industries and jobs to focus on in the future, which we’ll discuss in a later part of this series.

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