Jobs growth bucks na­tional trend

Pilbara News - - News - Stu­art McKin­non

The worst may be over for WA’s jobs cri­sis with the State’s un­em­ploy­ment rate fall­ing in De­cem­ber from a 15-year high the pre­vi­ous month.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics showed WA’s un­em­ploy­ment rate fell to 6.6 per cent in De­cem­ber on a sea­son­ally ad­justed ba­sis from 6.9 per cent in Novem­ber. It was the big­gest fall in un­em­ploy­ment recorded of any State in Aus­tralia and came against a back­drop of a ris­ing na­tional job­less rate.

The im­proved re­sult may re­flect re­bound­ing com­mod­ity prices, par­tic­u­larly iron ore, pro­vid­ing in­creased con­fi­dence, flow­ing through to the labour mar­ket.

Com­msec se­nior econ­o­mist Sa­vanth Se­bas­tian said the strength in com­mod­ity prices was a pos­i­tive and should sup­port an im­prove­ment in em­ploy­ment across the re­source States in the com­ing months.

He noted that job va­can­cies na­tion­ally were hold­ing near fiveyear highs and anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gested ac­tiv­ity lev­els in the busi­ness sec­tor were lift­ing.

“It is still early days, but the last three months are cer­tainly more up­beat,” he said. Na­tion­ally, the un­em­ploy­ment rate rose to 5.8 per cent in De­cem­ber, miss­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of it stay­ing at 5.7 per cent.

The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple with jobs Aus­tralia-wide rose by 13,500 in the month, with the mar­ket fore­cast­ing a rise of 12,000.

Full-time em­ploy­ment rose by 9300 jobs, while the num­ber of part-time jobs was up by 4200.

The par­tic­i­pa­tion rate, which refers to the num­ber of peo­ple ei­ther em­ployed or ac­tively look­ing for work, was up at 64.7 per cent in De­cem­ber from 64.6 in Novem­ber.

For the 2016 cal­en­dar year, a to­tal of 91,500 jobs were added — the weak­est re­sult since 2013.

Both Com­mSec and ANZ said to­day’s un­em­ploy­ment data was un­likely to change in­ter­est rate set­tings.

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