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01 April 2009 8:30am

Employment growth is more stable than the mainstream media portrays, and Australia may well survive the global financial crisis without the big job losses seen in previous downturns, according to HSBC chief economist Dr John Edwards.

Edwards told a briefing hosted by recruitment firm Aequalis Consulting last week that while output growth is probably close to zero, Australia is likely to avoid a severe recession.

And, he says, “it’s still possible there won’t be a recession at all”.

Regardless of whether GDP growth is negative in the coming months, Edwards said that most people will keep their jobs. “It’s likely that only a very small proportion of current employees will be made redundant during that time.

“However, overall job growth is slowing rapidly. Between August of last year and February of this year Australia lost about 100,000 full-time jobs, and created 114,000 part-time jobs, so that job numbers overall increased at a time when other economies were losing jobs.

“While jobs are steady overall, full-time jobs are falling. People are working fewer hours but remaining employed.”


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