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Monthly Archives: January 2010

From: AAP January 11, 2010 11:40AM

THE number of jobs advertised in major newspapers and online rose by 6 per cent in December, the strongest monthly growth in two-and-a-half years.

Overall job ads averaged 149,063 a week, with newspaper job ads rising by 11.6 per cent and internet job ads increasing by 5.6 per cent, an ANZ survey shows.

The rise in December follows a 5.2 per cent increase the month before and it was the strongest monthly growth since May 2007.

ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan said total job advertisements have recovered from the recent low in July 2009 as they continue to improve each month.

“This is already translating into employment growth and helping to keep the unemployment rate relatively stable, despite accelerating population and labour force growth,” Mr Hogan said.

“This sustained improvement in job advertisements and actual employment has come relatively early in this economic recovery cycle, indicating the mildness of the downturn Australia has experienced over the past 18 months.”

The report comes ahead of labour force figures for December from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

Financial markets expect the number of new jobs created increased by 10,000 in December, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points in December.

The number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers averaged 10,631 a week, and were 4.8 per cent higher than 12 months ago, the ANZ survey says.

Online job ads averaged 138,432 a week, but they were 24.1 per cent lower than in December 2008.

Mr Hogan forecasts the job market to continue to improve in the coming months.

“In the near term, the forward indicators appear positive for some solid employment growth in December and over the summer months, although probably at a slower pace than seen in the past three months,” Mr Hogan said.

“The ANZ (and other) job ads surveys are improving rapidly, retail sales turnover grew strongly in November (retail trade is currently Australia’s second largest employing sector, behind health services), business investment and construction are regrouping, and the AiGs three industry surveys (manufacturing, services and construction) all indicated net expansion of employment in December.”

ANZ expects the unemployment rate to peak at around six per cent by mid-2010.

From: AAP January 11, 2010 2:56AM

Western Australia has the nation’s fastest growing economy, buoyed by mining

Growth economies revealed
WA and ACT at the top
NSW the nation’s poorest performer

AUSTRALIA’S largest state and the nation’s smallest territory would on the surface appear to share little in common.

One has a vast supply of mineral resources that has made it the engine room of the domestic economy, thousands of kilometres of coastline and a capital city regarded as the most isolated in the developed world.

The other is situated neatly between Sydney and Melbourne, is about 150 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean and has about half its land set aside as nature parks and reserves.

So comparisons between Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are stark, but CommSec says in terms of economic performance they cannot be split at the top of the pack.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said based on eight key indicators, WA and the ACT are Australia’s two best-performing economies.

“Western Australia is the fastest growing economy, buoyed by mining-related construction and investment,” Mr James said in a research note.

“And solid growth in residential construction and property sales has propelled the ACT to the top of the economic rankings.”

Mr James said he expected WA to remain in the lead in early 2010 as the state benefitted from the strong recovery in the Chinese economy, but the outlook for the ACT was not as certain.

“The ACT and Tasmanian economies may slip modestly down the leader-board as the global economy recovers, with Queensland and Victoria having the greatest potential to move up the rankings,” Mr James said.

The eight indicators were economic growth; retail spending; business investment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance; dwelling commencements and unemployment.

WA topped three categories – economic growth, business investment and construction work, while the ACT was judged the best in terms of housing finance and dwelling starts.

New South Wales came in last in four categories – economic growth, unemployment, construction work and dwelling starts.

In terms of the overall standings, Tasmania held the title three months ago, but has slipped to third.

Mr James said smaller states and territories such as Tasmania and the ACT have not suffered as badly as the bigger states during the US financial crisis.

South Australia fell from second to fourth, while Queensland was one spot back in fifth place.

Mr James said Victoria was one of the big improvers over the past three months, climbing one rung into sixth.

Northern Territory was seventh, while Australia’s most populous state NSW was the nation’s worst performing economy.

Mr James said NSW had the potential to lift off the bottom of the economic leader-board if faster population growth could be translated to increased construction, investment and overall economic growth.

“NSW should benefit from the ending of the US financial crisis via a stronger job market,” Mr James said.

“But it is a long way behind the other states and territories due to the stagnant activity in the construction sector.”

From: AAP January 10, 2010 4:41AM

Car production in Australia has plunged to its lowest level since 1957.

CAR production in Australia has plunged to its lowest level since 1957, with manufacturers hit by the global economic slump and the high Australian dollar.

Despite strong local car sales, helped by the federal government’s business tax breaks, exports to markets such as the Middle East and the United States have all but collapsed, Fairfax newspapers say.

The industry is set to be further buffeted by a January 1 tariff cut that has lowered the price of imported models relative to locally produced cars.

Figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show Australia produced just 225,713 vehicles last year, almost 100,000 fewer than in 2008 and 55 per cent of the output in 2004.

The chamber’s chief executive, Andrew McKellar, told Fairfax a “crucial factor” this year will be the speed of recovery in export markets, warning that the high dollar poses a serious long-term threat to the competitiveness of the industry.

Separate figures from the Bureau of Statistics confirmed the dramatic collapse in exports.

The export slump will leave Australia’s car industry even more heavily dependent on taxpayer-funded assistance, which is mainly provided through the Government’s $6.2 billion car industry plan.

Industry Minister Kim Carr said production had been running at half its usual pace, although local producers had fared better than elsewhere in the world, given no major companies had gone broke.