Friday, November 12, 2010

Victoria leads states in jobs growth

VICTORIA has added more jobs over the past four years than any other state, with 278,000 more people in work than at the time of the last state election.

Jobs figures released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics show that Australia's buoyant jobs growth continued in October, with employers adding almost 30,000 jobs in seasonally adjusted terms.

But the strong jobs market has brought out many more job seekers, with the bureau recording a record 12 million Australians 65.9 per cent of all Australians aged 15 and over now in work or looking for a job.

That lifted the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 5.4 per cent in October despite the strong growth in jobs, up from 5.1 per cent in September.

But even on those figures, seasonally adjusted employment has grown by a stunning 375,000 in the past year including 271,000 more full-time jobs while unemployment fell by 23,000.

On the more reliable trend figures used to analyse state data, Victoria has added 95,000 jobs in the past year, with jobs growing 3.5 per cent in the state, compared with 3.2 per cent growth in the nation.

Over the past four years, the bureau reports that Victoria has enjoyed the biggest jobs growth in the nation in absolute terms, and the third fastest growth behind the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

"Victoria is Australia's jobs engine room," Treasurer John Lenders declared. "Not only have we achieved the 150,000 jobs target promised at the last election, we have created 138,000 more jobs than promised and more than any other state."

But shadow treasurer Kim Wells highlighted the jump in seasonally adjusted unemployment to 5.6 per cent. "The number of unemployed Victorians is now higher than in late 1999," he said. "After 11 years of Labor, unemployment remains stubbornly high, and many Victorians continue to suffer in the dole queue."

The rapid growth in NT employment is largely due to federal intervention in Aboriginal communities, while WA has grown because of the mining boom. In Victoria the main driver of new jobs has been the growth in overseas student enrolments, which have now gone into reverse.

In the past year, NSW has overtaken Victoria in jobs growth for the first time in years, as the violence against Indian students in Melbourne, the rising dollar and the federal government's crackdown on work visas for overseas students in low-skilled courses have turned students away.

Even so, the bureau estimates Victoria has added 50,000 jobs in the past six months, with jobs booming in construction, retail, government, real estate and professional services.

Unemployment on the trend measure rose from 4.9 per cent in October 2006 to 5.5 per cent in October 2010. It has edged up slightly in the past six months as more people have come off the sidelines to look for work.


Oct 2006 to Oct 2010

Victoria 278,000 10.8%

NSW 259,000 7.8%

Queensland 214,000 10.2%

WA 141,000 13.0%

Australia 981,000 9.5%