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Tag Archives: recession

(Unfortunately I can’t check on the accuracy of this data making up this table…but it is very interesting….)

 Joe Weisenthal | May 4, 2012, 9:21 AM | 9,171 | 32

As always, the infamous chart from Calculated Risk.

It compares the pace of this jobs recovery vs. every other one since WWII by looking at the trajectory of jobs lost and gained since the recession began.



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May 3, 2012 – 1:51PM

The housing sector may be struggling, but there is still a shortage of skilled labour in some parts of the building sector, a study has found.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) Trades Report, released today, showed five of the 13 housing trades were under-supplied in the March quarter. These were in bricklaying, ceramic tiling, painting, plumbing and in the miscellaneous category.

HIA chief economist Harley Dale said the availability of skilled tradespeople is only marginally in surplus.

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‘‘These results provide compelling evidence of a structural shortage of skilled labour within the residential construction industry,’’ he said. ‘‘A large surplus of skilled labour would have emerged by now amidst very weak housing conditions, but that simply hasn’t happened.’’

Dr Dale said action needed to be taken to address the lack of skilled building trades people.

‘‘Now is also the time to reform the immigration system to support the specific skilled labour requirements of residential construction, something it currently fails to do,’’ he said. ‘‘You can’t just turn the skilled labour tap on when new home building recovers, especially when you are competing with the resources sector for labour.

‘‘Without further investment and reform, skilled labour shortages will inhibit the much-needed recovery in new home building activity.’’

The HIA trade prices index – which assesses the rates charged by traders – rose by 1.4 per cent in the March quarter to be up by 1.6 per cent, when compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Read more:–despite-housing-slump-20120503-1y0uq.html#ixzz1tnWdQ0As

By George Megalogenis
The Australian
July 06, 2009 12:00am

AUSTRALIAN-BORN workers have been shielded from the worst of the global recession, as employers have mainly restricted the economy-wide job losses to migrant workers.

Although unemployment is rising across the board as opportunities vanish, there is a clear divide emerging between the treatment of local and overseas-born workers, The Australian reports.

Australian-born workers dropped 22,000 full-time jobs in the 12 months to May but picked up an extra 74,500 part-time jobs for a net gain of 52,500 positions.

By contrast, migrant workers lost 37,100 full-time jobs, offset by 21,600 extra part-time jobs for a net loss of 15,500.

The detailed research by The Australian suggests employers have been laying off workers on a last-on, first-off basis.

This puts the migrants who claimed the majority of the jobs available at the top of the boom, when the economy faced acute skills shortages, in the employment firing line now.

In the early 1990s recession, non-English speakers were the most disadvantaged as blue-collar manufacturing jobs disappeared.

This time, New Zealand-born workers are the most likely to be retrenched, with 11,000 full-time jobs and a further 9800 part-time jobs shed in the 12 months to May, for a net loss of 20,800.

The Indian-born are faring much better, with 19,500 more full-time and 18,500 more part-time jobs.

This is a sign that shortages remain across significant pockets of the economy as the Indian migrants tend to have higher skills on average.

On the other hand, northeast-and southeast-Asian-born workers have lost their jobs in roughly the same numbers as the New Zealanders.

Overall, English-speaking migrants are down 11,600 jobs in net terms, while non-English speaking migrants have lost 4000 jobs.

Australia has defied the global recession som far, with unemployment at 5.7 per cent. More tellingly, the wider economy has yet to move into the red zone where a larger number of jobs are being lost than are created.,27753,25738596-462,00.html?referrer=email&source=eDM_newspulse

July 1, 2009 – 9:49AM

Activity in the manufacturing sector continued to decline in June, although the pace of easing slowed, a survey showed.

The Australian Industry Group/PricewaterhouseCoopers Performance of Manufacturing Index rose by 0.9 index points in June to 38.4 points, seasonally adjusted.

June marked the 13th consecutive month that the index was below the 50-point level, indicating contraction in activity.

AiGroup chief executive Heather Ridout said on Wednesday some sectors had benefited from the federal government’s fiscal stimulus packages, lower interest rates and a lift in consumer confidence during June.

“While the slowing in declines in manufacturing inventories, employment and deliveries is encouraging, the continued weakness in new orders and production raises doubts as to whether this trend will be sustained,” Ms Ridout said in a statement.

“There will need to be an improvement across all sectors in the months ahead, particularly automotive, transport and construction industries which reported weakness and impeded manufacturing production in June.”

In the survey of more than 500 companies, four of the 12 sectors – machinery and equipment, textiles, basic metal products and fabricated metal products – recorded easing in the decline of activity.

Two sectors, food and beverages, and clothing and footwear, reported increases in activity during June, reflecting the effects of the federal government’s second stimulus package and generational-low interest rates, the report said.

New orders remained weak, while employment, deliveries and inventories declined at a slower rate.

PricewaterhouseCoopers global leader of industrial manufacturing, Graeme Billings, said weak markets were placing pressure on the ability of firms to manage costs and maintain profit levels.

“The weakness in manufacturers’ markets illustrated by continued declines in new orders puts further pressure on profit margins as prices continue to fall at the same time as input prices and wages growth remain stable,” Mr Billings said.

“This only re-emphasises the need for firms to continue to focus on ensuring cash flow through such strategies as reducing unit costs through inventory and supply chain management and managing debtors and creditors effectively,” Mr Billings said.

By Caitlin O’Toole
June 16, 2009 09:12am

A YEAR ago, accounting and mining engineering students would be fielding two or three job offers halfway through their final year.

Now, they can’t afford to be choosy, and count themselves lucky to get a single offer.

Graduate Careers Australia research manager Bruce Guthrie said the economic uncertainty takes the shine off industries hit hard by the downturn, like formerly ‘hot jobs’ in mining and finance.

“A lot of employers have just been holding back a little bit, waiting to get some firm idea about what the rest of the year will bring,” said Mr Guthrie.

“Some employers decided maybe to be a little more prudent and either decided to delay hiring, or pay people and say ‘sorry we’ll withdraw the offer’.”

WHAT has your experience been of the graduate job market? Tell us below.

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Uni grad beats credit crisis with 50 jobs, 16 Mar 2009 Even accountants, which formerly moaned about a skills shortage, are cutting back. ‘Big four’ firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers offered graduates $4000 to delay their start date, and Ernst & Young postponed graduate start dates.

Almost 70 per cent of graduates expect it will be hard to get a position because of the economy, according to a CareerOne survey. And almost half of grads aren’t working in the field they studied.

As architecture and building, accounting, engineering and business graduate programs mirror the economy, the less glamorous careers will hold up, predicts Mr Guthrie.

“Commonly those are areas in the teaching, health sciences areas, where demand for employees isn’t governed by the economy,” he said.

Headlines about layoffs and fewer graduate spots in the private sector mean graduates are turning to public service, where competition for graduate spots has jumped.

Applications for the Australian Tax Office’s graduate program, with its $49,000 starting salary and 15.4 per cent super, jumped from 1701 to 5312 applicants this year, most with tax, accounting, law or economics degrees.

Employers attending careers fairs have fallen 15 per cent, said Dawn White, president of The National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS).

But having to fight hard to get a job could have a silver lining, as fewer grads fall into the formerly ‘safe’ career options of law, finance or accounting and think seriously about what they really want to do with their lives, she said.

Although investment banks are still recruiting on campuses, fewer students are showing up for their information sessions, said Ms White.

Students are now less likely to enter banking just to keep their parents happy, even though there are still jobs and even signing bonuses on offer.

“You read in the paper of a company cutting jobs, and then they ring up the next day and want to recruit grads,” said Ms White.

‘Hot jobs’ like IT or banking are just trends, and students are better off thinking carefully about what they really want to do, she said.

Recessions push people to make a more conscious career choice and think about what they are good at and what they really enjoy, because the ‘safe’ career track is gone, said Ms White.

“It might have made people realise there aren’t any specific safe industries, so it’s more important to do something you enjoy and gain transferable skills.”

“It’s forcing students to have a look at their priorities and their reasons for getting into things,” said Ms White.,27753,25643410-5012426,00.html

Jacob Saulwick
June 11, 2009

THE average first-home loan in NSW has risen more than $50,000 in just over a year, climbing to $300,000 on the back of low interest rates and generous government grants.

The success of the boosted first-home owner grant in stimulating the market has drawn applause from the Government, but experts warned of the potential danger of a housing bubble as young couples take on loans they will struggle to maintain.

First-home buyers are taking out a record 28 per cent of the value of all home loans, Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday showed.

But the surge in borrowing runs the risk of overinflating the lower end of the housing market. “We have just got to make sure that we don’t get a recovery on the back of over-extended young couples,” said Julian Disney, an affordable housing expert from the University of NSW.

The Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, cited similar concerns last week, saying it would be counterproductive if low interest rates encouraged marginal borrowers to take on large debts. Yesterday’s release came alongside a rise in consumer confidence, attributed to the resilience of the economy amid global recession.

When the Government doubled the first-home owner grant in October as part of its response to the financial crisis, the average loan to new buyers was lower than that taken out by non-first-home buyers.

Since then, the average loan for first-home buyers across the country has increased $50,000 to $283,000 – about $25,000 more than loans to buyers who already have a foothold in the market.

For NSW home buyers, the average first mortgage is $299,000, against $276,000 for existing home owners. Before October, there had been little increase in the average first mortgage for about four years.

Asked if the the market had been inflated by grants, the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said yesterday’s figures showed the benefits of the Government’s economic stimulus packages.

“It has played a very important role in supporting employment in the Australian housing and construction industry.”

Professor Disney, the director of the social justice project at the University of NSW, supported the supersized grant as an economic emergency measure. But he said the Government should consider winding back the original $7000 grant to prevent a new housing bubble.

“Every month the risk of inveigling people into a dangerous situation increases,” he said.

Loans to owner-occupiers increased for the seventh consecutive month in April, after falling in each of the eight months before the grant was doubled. Overall, the value of housing finance rose 0.9 per cent in April.

Banks have already responded to a crush of demand from first-home buyers by making it more difficult to get a loan. The big banks are only writing loans up to 90 per cent of the value of the property, and insisting on at least 5 per cent genuine savings for a deposit. Borrowers are complaining of waiting up to a month to get a loan approved from the big banks.

But Mark Haron, the principal at the mortgage broker aggregation group Connective, said the market had quietened in the past couple of weeks.

There remained plenty of enthusiasm among first-home buyers, Mr Haron said, but they were having to spend longer looking for houses because prices kept going up.

In October, the $14,000 grant for existing homes will fall to $10,500, before dropping to $7000 in January. The $21,000 grant for new properties will drop to $14,000 in October, and $7000 next year.

Bill Evans, the chief economist at Westpac, which published the consumer confidence index, called this month’s increase a “truly remarkable result”.

“It is the second largest recorded increase in the index since the survey began in 1974,” said Mr Evans, adding it was likely due to the small increase in economic growth figures released last week.

Unemployment figures released today are expected to show an increase in the jobless rate.

June 11, 2009 – 3:24PM

Chinese exports plunged sharply in May, posting the seventh straight monthly decline, customs authorities said, highlighting the continued impact of the global economic crisis.

The world’s third-largest economy posted exports worth 88.8 billion US dollars last month, a fall of 26.4 percent from the same month last year, the customs data showed.

Meanwhile, Chinese imports totalled 75.4 billion US dollars, a drop of 25.2 percent, officials said.

The trade surplus in May stood at 13.4 billion US dollars, according to the authorities, who did not provide a percentage change compared with the same month last year.

Despite the steep year-on-year decline, the figures represented an increase month-on-month, with exports up 0.2 percent from April, and imports up 4.4 percent.

China has been severely impacted by the global economic crisis, with traditional markets in North America and Europe taking fewer of its products.

Since the export sector is a big employer in China, the government has been forced to come up with solutions to ward off hard times.

Most startlingly, it unveiled a 580-billion-dollar fiscal package late last year, aimed at lifting the economy mainly through investment in large infrastructure projects.

June 11, 2009 – 6:52AM

Economists are expecting today’s official job figures for May to show a sharp jump in the unemployment rate.

The jobless rate is tipped to bounce back to at least 5.7 per cent, where it stood in March and prior to the questionable fall to 5.4 per cent in April.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is sticking with the May budget forecast that sees the unemployment rate soaring to 8.5 per cent by mid-2011, leaving one million people in the dole queue.

On Wednesday, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index for June surged 12.7 per cent, the second largest increase since the survey began in 1974 and the largest increase in 22 years.

The national accounts – released last week – showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year.

The economy thus avoided a second straight quarter of negative growth, which would have meant it was in a technical recession.

Tim Colebatch
April 17, 2009

AMID rising optimism that the global financial crisis could end sooner than expected, the International Monetary Fund has issued a new warning that the crisis is likely to be “unusually long and severe” and followed by only a “sluggish” recovery.

An analysis of past recessions in Western countries prepared for the IMF’s half-yearly World Economic Outlook, concludes that this recession, unlike those in recent decades, has several features that are likely to make it deeper and more protracted than normal.

The analysis, released overnight, finds that:

*Recessions that stem from financial crises endure longer and go deeper than those with their roots in macro-economic problems.

*Recessions that engulf the world last longer and are followed by weaker recoveries than those restricted to a single country.

*Counter-cyclical monetary policy is largely ineffective in tackling a financial crisis, but expansionary fiscal policy “seems particularly effective in shortening recessions associated with financial crises, and (in) boosting recoveries”.

*Developing countries are likely to face problems in accessing finance even after recovery sets in, as the new fear of risk among global investors will fade only slowly.

The fund’s warnings come after US President Barack Obama sought to rally American morale by talking of “glimmers of hope” in the US economy, while markets globally have enjoyed a sustained rally, raising hopes that the crisis might end sooner than expected.

It also comes as China reported a surprisingly strong rebound in investment in the cities, both in infrastructure and in property development.

The IMF analysis, commissioned well before any of these events, was released in advance of the half-yearly meetings of the fund and the World Bank in Washington next week. The IMF will release its updated Global Financial Stability report on Tuesday and its new forecasts for the global economy on Wednesday. Finance ministers will meet the following weekend.

It notes that by the end of 2008, 15 of the 21 richest countries were already in recession, on the simple definition of two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The IMF says all Western countries, including Australia, will end up there.

“The results (of this analysis) suggest that recessions associated with financial crises tend to be unusually severe, and their recoveries typically slow,” it concluded.

The IMF warned that “overleveraged economies” were unlikely to bounce back quickly through strong growth in domestic private demand, as they would require “a prolonged period of above-average saving”. It did not name them, but Australia is clearly one of them.

It again spelt out the case for a strong fiscal policy response, with the Government acting as the “spender of last resort” to break the negative feedback between weaknesses in the financial sector and the real economy.

“Given the shortfalls in both domestic private demand and external demand, policy must be used to arrest the cycle of falling demand, asset prices, and credit,” the IMF argued. “However, evidence indicates that interest rate cuts are likely to have less of an impact during a financial crisis … (whereas) fiscal policy can make a significant contribution to reducing the duration of recessions associated with financial crises.”

But even with “coherent and comprehensive action”, it concluded, “recovery is likely to be slow and relatively weak”.

Could HR practitioners be making bad decisions as well?
07 April 2009 6:53am

No matter how bad the economy seems, it’s always a mistake to accept poor-quality clients, says business coach Ric Willmot.

Willmot, the CEO of Executive Wisdom Consulting Group, says some “really bad decisions” are being made in the corporate arena right now – particularly in the professional and personal services sectors.

The mistakes he has witnessed recently include:

reducing or discounting fees;

pressuring the staff left after redundancies to accept increased workloads;

adopting pricing tactics such as adding credit card service and administrative fees; and

sending reminder notices and payment demand letters – or making abrupt telephone calls chasing payment – within 14 days of an invoice being sent.

Businesses will continue to succeed if they can deliver their service to clients in a way that reaches their objectives, Willmot says. “Make the client significantly better because they have you.”

He says businesses should:

Rid themselves of non-quality clients. “I call them X-class clients; those clients who are low value to you and your business. They consume your corporate capacity. Capacity that will be much better served invested in A-class clients who do appreciate your value, and do good, regular business with you, and refer good people to you.”

Be prudent with the new clients they accept. “You do not have to accept every prospect who comes to your door. A poor prospect never makes a good client. It’s not about more business in this economy, it’s about better business. The litmus test: if the economy couldn’t get any better… would you still want them as a client?”

Understand the difference between revenue and profitability. “They are frequently confused.”

Avoid indiscriminate cost cutting. “Now is the time you should be increasing some expenditure, by investing in innovation, product and service development, human talent and retention of staff and customers.”

Re-tool. “This is a term from the days of Frederick Winslow Taylor referring to plant and machinery. I use the term specifically referring to people.”

Build relationships with their clients. “Strong relationships.”

In addition to the above, Willmot says, leaders should realise that procrastination poses a bigger threat to their success than the economic situation does.

To help build business, he says, managers should:
send letters not email if you really want your client to read your correspondence;

speak at business networking functions to expand your reach;

initiate some low-cost PR measures;

reach out laterally to your existing customers by providing additional products and services;

attend a seminar or training course;

write a press release for the local media; and

whether you are travelling across town or across the nation, leverage the trip and arrange to meet other people who haven’t bought from you yet.