WA economy struggling
Australia has just enjoyed its 25th consecutive year of growth with new figures showing the economy expanded by 0.5 per cent through the June quarter, but WA is struggling.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a surge in government spending that helped drive the economy over the past three months.
Over the past year the economy grew by 3.3 per cent, making Australia one of the fastest growing countries in the developed world.
The last time Australia was in recession, Sale of the Century was on the nation’s televisions and people endured Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do it for You as the number one song for 11 long weeks.
Tony Barber handed over his hosting role of Sale of the Century to Glenn Ridge in 1991 and Australia has been growing ever since. CommSec chief economist Craig James said there were no signs of Australia’s growth coming to an end.
“Far from it — annual growth has lifted to four-year highs. Australia has now notched up 100 quarters without a recession,” he said. “The Netherlands holds the record for the longest expansion at 103 quarters.
“Over the next year Australia should pick up the gold medal for the longest economic expansion of a developed economy.”
The figures showed government spending added 0.3 percentage points to the overall figure, helping to offset a sharp fall in non-dwelling construction that stripped 0.8 percentage points from the result.
Among industries, mining actually detracted 0.3 percentage points from the figure.
The best performed area was the professional and scientific sector. There were big falls in hours worked across the economy, reflecting the softer jobs market.
But there was also a fall in per unit labour costs, suggesting businesses made savings on their wages bill.
While nationally the figure was a good performance, the woes of the WA economy were again highlighted in the report. State final demand, which measures the domestic side of the economy, tumbled by 2.5 per cent in the quarter.
Public spending on capital projects jumped by 34 per cent in the quarter but this was not nearly enough to offset a 13 per cent fall in public spending.
Domestic economic activity in WA has now shrunk by 7.4 per cent over the past year.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the figures had been buoyed by a “one off splurge of government spending”.
“The irony shouldn’t be lost on a government which rails against government spending yet is now relying on a surge in public expenditure to support their so called ‘jobs and growth’ narrative,” he said.
“Ongoing weak private demand is one of the key reasons the economy has shed more than 60,000 full-time jobs since the end of last year.”