Friday, June 8, 2012

Good 'Problems' for the Australian Economy

While the global economic situation is precarious at the moment, things could be much, much worse for Australia.

As much as the Coalition and The Australian want to paint the Australian economic news out this week as not quite as good as it actually was, its hard to argue against the proposition that in aggregate Australia is doing very, very well at the moment.

The first news out was the Australian National Accounts. A quarterly expansion of 1.3 per cent was a big surprise.

Mining was obviously the standout, but even manufacturing held steady.

The second result on employment could be spun negatively because the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased, but there was actually an increase in overall employment as more people entered the labour force looking for work.

According to the ABS:


■Employment increased 38,900 (0.3%) to 11,537,900. Full-time employment increased 46,100 (0.6%) to 8,107,900 and part-time employment decreased 7,200 (0.2%) to 3,430,100.

■Unemployment increased 22,400 (3.7%) to 622,800. The number of persons looking for full-time work increased 6,500 (1.5%) to 430,000 and the number of persons looking for part-time work increased 15,900 (9.0%) to 192,800.

■The unemployment rate increased 0.2 pts to 5.1%. The male unemployment rate was steady at 4.8% and the female unemployment rate increased 0.3 pts to 5.5%.

■The participation rate increased 0.3 pts to 65.5%.

■Aggregate monthly hours worked decreased 4.7 million hours to 1,627.2 million hours.

Another series out from the ABS was on industrial disputes. Despite vast improvments in this area over recent years,  it was surprising (not) to see The Australian, put a negative spin on the figures. The paper reported focused on the fact that industrial disputes were up over the year despite the fact that over the last 3 months they had fallen markedly.

As Luke Williams reported in Crikey:
The latest figures from the ABS indicate if the March 2012 pattern continues the 2012 average would be about 134,000 — still less than the John Howard years of 2005 (228,000), 2004 (379,000), 2003 (439,000), 2002 (259,000), 2001 (394,000) and 2000 (469,100). These figures alone shows how selected it is to call the latest figures a “seven-year high”.
While the number of days lost per industrial disputes increased in 2011 (257,000) when compared with 2010 (126,000), as well as 2009 (132,000) and 2008 (196,000), the number of industrial disputes actually decreased. The 2011 figure was also up from record lows under the unpopular WorkChoices legislation in 2007 with 49,000 days lost, but still comparable to 2006 (132,000 days lost) and 2005 (228,000 days lost).
Overall, the industrial dispute levels continue at an overall trend of historic lows. While the Fair Work Act started operation on July 1, 2009, the average number of working days lost per dispute decreased from 1110 to 558 between 2008 and 2010.
Looking through past ABS figures highlights the difference even further — there were 460,000 days lost in 1999, 526,000 in 1998 and 928,500 in 1996. This compares to pre-accord and reform days; there were some 1.3 million days lost in 1987 and a massive 5.42 million in 1973.

Never let the facts get in the way of an ideological message.

The following graph from The Economist shows the  'problem' of the difficulty of finding workers in Australia and why, if the mining boom continues, there will be more foreign workers coming into Australia.

According to The Economist:

UNEMPLOYMENT has reached record levels in many countries. Yet more than a third of employers around the world are still having trouble filling vacancies, according to a ManpowerGroup survey of nearly 40,000 employers in 41 countries. Workers in skilled trades (electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and so on) are in shortest supply, followed by engineers and sales people. Talent shortages are most acute in Asia, particularly in Japan where an ageing population is exacerbating the problem. Only in France has the proportion of employers struggling to find appropriate talent increased significantly since last year (from 20% to 29%). In Italy, by contrast, it has halved from 29% to 14%. Overall, employers are less concerned about the impact of skills shortages than they were in 2011. This may be because companies are becoming more comfortable conducting business in an uncertain environment where talent shortages persist.

1 comment:

  1. In Australia employers do not want to retrain already skilled workers.

    There is a significant issue of employers refusing to pay REAL market rates and trying to bring in cheap overseas employees, mostly students who have studied here for years. The market rate for skilled migrants is a minimum of 49K a year - this rate is set by the government regulations under the migration act. In reality, employers will provide bogus pay information and pay skilled accountants or IT experts 30k a year, this is illegal but is endemic,.

    Paying someone who has graduated with Bachelor and Masters in Accountancy or Engineering 49k a year is ludicrous, IMO the market rate should be 70-80k a year, this would force business to TRY and recruit Australians first. I don’t blame international students, they are getting locked in to 2 years of slavery to try and make a better future for themselves.

    You can guess who I am...


Please be civil ...