Recommend Print


Unemployment rate falls to 4.9% but slowdown looms

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 07 April 2011

The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9% despite predictions it would remain flat at 5%, but economists still expect the pace of jobs growth to moderate over coming months. 


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 24,000 new positions were filled in March after a surprise loss of 10,000 positions in February.


The figures show 32,100 full-time positions were created in March in addition to 5,700 part-time positions.


NAB senior market economist Spiros Papadopoulos says the labour market cannot continue the current pace of growth, but it will remain solid.


“In 2010 we saw very, very strong growth in employment growth in percentage terms… Obviously, companies are going to find it harder and harder to find suitable employees in their business,” he says.


Not surprisingly, Papadopoulos says the nation’s booming mining sector is driving jobs growth, although other areas are catching up.


“Although other sectors of the economy aren’t doing as strongly – such as the retail sector, the manufacturing sector, wholesaling, etc – we are still seeing pretty good employment levels in those industries,” he says.


According to jobs site SEEK, Australia’s labour market is continuing to grow at a steady rate, with a 23% increase in the number of new jobs advertised in March 2011 compared to March 2010.


SEEK data shows new job advertisements were up 2.6% since February while job applications also increased by 1.6% since February.


According to SEEK managing director Joe Powell, March saw high demand among jobseekers for positions as retail assistants, assistant accountants, housekeeping staff, call centre staff, and pickers and packers in the transport and logistics industry.


“By contrast, the hardest-to-fill positions are typically highly skilled including insurance and superannuation lawyers, nursing managers, researchers, environmental engineers and management roles in the mining industry,” Powell says.


“Western Australia saw particularly high demand for positions driven by the resources boom – engineers, residential property managers, IT consultants and accountants.”


“In Victoria and New South Wales, it was healthcare professionals that topped the list of the hardest positions to fill.”


Powell says the resources boom continues to be the major factor influencing the employment market, which is not surprising given the salaries on offer.


“The mining industry is a key driver of the Australian economy and, with an average job ad salary on SEEK of $129,000, workers in that industry are the highest paid on average in the country,” he says.


“Beyond the resources boom, the rest of the employment market is still healthy and steady; we’re now regularly seeing over 150,000 ads a month on our site, indicating continuing demand from employers.”


“Our research shows that two in three Australians are looking to change their job this year and, with more than 47 million job ads viewed on SEEK in March, jobseekers are clearly becoming more active in their search.”

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

Invalid Input

Follow us

StartupSmart on Twitter StartupSmart on Facebook StartupSmart on LinkedIn

Subscribe to StartupSmart RSS feeds


  • How to Enchant with Social Media
    According to bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment transforms situations and relationships, turns cynics into believers and changes hearts and...

  • AIC Commercialisation Masterclass - Melbourne
    This intensive one day workshop will assist participants derive full value from their research. The Masterclass is designed for past Commercialisation...

  • Flying Solo - How to Go It Alone in Business
    Starting your own venture? Or rejuvenating one that's been ticking along for years? Sam Leader, co-author of the business bestseller Flying Solo - How to go...

  • The Import Export Show
    The annual Import Export Show for SMEs returns The Import Export Show, Australia’s only major exhibition and learning event for small and medium-sized i...

  • Oceania CACS2011
    Oceania CACS2011 - The region's leading conference and must-attend event for IT audit, control, security and governance professionals will focus on the theme...

Sponsored Links

Our Partners

  • Leonardo DiCaprio gets his Sydney tennis court for Gatsby shoot
  • Former Centro CEO Andrew Scott escapes boardroom ban but cops fine
  • Sellers need 55 days and a 7.2% discount to find buyers
  • Major banks dominate mortgage lending
  • Prices ease in softening market with rebound in sight: RP Data-Rismark