Friday, November 29, 2013

Where the Jobs Were and Are: Employment Trends 1984-2013

The services sector has also long been the major source of employment in the economy. Even in early 1900, services employed over 50 per cent of the working population and it has been on an upward trend increase ever since. 

The employment trend for industry sectors show just how much manufacturing employment has declined since 1984 (and it was in decline well before then) and 
how few people mining directly employs (even if there are a wide range of indirect jobs associated with the sector). 

The following graphs and tables are from the latest ABS data (6291.0.55.003 - Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Aug 2013) 

Mining directly contributed just 2.3 per cent to Australian employment in August 2013, with agriculture contributing 2.6 per cent and manufacturing 7.9 per cent (down from 16.8 per cent in 1984). 

Combined, the three sectors contributed just 12.8 per cent of employment.  

The trend in agricultural and manufacturing employment is clearly down as the chart below shows, while mining employment rose significantly until last year, albeit from a low base.

Service industries dominate employment. IN 2013, Construction contributed 9.2 per cent, Retail trade 10.5 per cent, Professional, scientific and technical services 7.9 per cent and Health care and social assistance 11.9 per cent. 

These sectors plus mining have increased their percentage of employment since the 1980s, whilst the share of employment accounted for by agriculture and manufacturing has declined. 

The two biggest sectors for employment are Health care and social assistance (11.9 per cent) and “retail trade” (10.5 per cent). 

These figures show that a slump in the retail sector probably has a greater short-term impact on employment than a boom in the mining sector. Although construction employment needs to be considered in relation to mining as well. Australia is gradually moving beyond the investment phase of the boom, which should see a decline in the level of construction employees in coming years unless the commercial and residential property sector can take up the slack. 

The major question for coming months is what the Abbott government will continue to support the automotive industry. Even if it does, it seems that the demise of the industry is inevitable over the medium-term. This will have a drastic impact on manufacturing employment.

Given the end of the mining investment boom, right now might not be the best time to let the industry fail. If they do, the flow on effects to other parts of the economy will be large.


 Agricultural, Manufacturing and Mining Employment
Percentage of Total Employment 1984-2013

Selected Services Employment
Percentage of Total Employment 1984-2013

Percentages calculated by author. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recent Charts on Globalisation, Asia and Australia

The following chart shows the extent of the "patchwork" economy in Australia. Despite the clear differences since 1990, according to the ANZ's analysis, the patchwork economy is coming to an end as WA starts to struggle and as activity picks up in NSW. Clearly, however, the other states have some work to do to catch up. (remember that the common starting point is an artificial construction and there would have been significant differences before this time).

Australia's 'real' saving rate perhaps not as high as traditional saving measure suggests if we exclude super and principal mortgage repayments. 

Home Ownership in Australia from Saul Eslake

Thirty Years of the Float 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Buy Australian?

The Abbott government is widely advertising the policy of selling Australian citizenship to rich foreigners. This stance is the opposite of its efforts to bury the outcome of recent asylum-seeking attempts.

The immigration advice site reports:
The new Australian immigration minister Scott Morrison has said that he wants to fast-track 400 wealthy visa applicants for permanent residence. The 400 have applied for subclass 888 Significant investor visas and Mr Morrison believes that, between them, they have about AUS$2bn to invest in the Australian economy. He also says that he wants to 'reboot' the Significant Investor Visa so that it creates more Australian jobs. .... So far, 28 Significant Investor visas have been granted. To qualify, applicants must have at least AUS$5m to invest in Australia. The investments must be made in investments approved by the Australian government.
I feel a little uneasy about the idea of purchased citizenship, but the policy enacted by Labor in November 2012, has been fully embraced by the Abbott government and its Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
There is currently a nine-month waiting period before an applicant can receive an 888 visa but Mr Morrison says that he wants to cut this for fear that wealthy Chinese citizens will take their money elsewhere. 
Speaking at the Migration Institute of Australia in Sydney on Monday 21st October, Mr Morrison told his audience that he was poaching international talent 'like a recruiter for your local sports team'. He said that people who got 888 visas would 'transfer their wealth to Australia over a generation' and that their businesses would become Australian, creating jobs for Australians.

He said 'We think people who create business, people who risk capital, people who go out there every day and create jobs off their own enterprise is what we need to see more of in this country and certainly within our immigration programme'.
Compare this to recent efforts to restrict reporting on asylum-seekers.
The birth of children and clinical depression are no longer being formally reported as incidents in Australian detention centres, while self-harm events have been downgraded from critical to major, according to new guidelines from the detention service provider Serco. The new guidelines were created in March this year, when the previous Labor government was in office.
Bipartisanship on asylum-seekers was the sad reality. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recent Charts on Globalisation, Asia and Australia

Australia's dependence on China (from Australia's economic blog and general source of news MacroBusiness). Not only is Australia's dependence on China a worry but Australia's dependence on iron ore.

Coal consumption in China on the rise, which puts its renewable energy efforts into perspective.

Industrial production is stalling in developing countries, but it has clearly outperformed production in the developed world since 2007.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Electricity Generation in the Australian States: More Coal not Less

These charts put the shifts towards renewables in perspective. 

Coal usage is up across Australia, particularly in Western Australia. Wind is up but still relatively minor as a percentage of the total and other renewables including solar are also still relatively insignificant.