23/10/2007 - 22:00

Boom attracting interstate workers

23/10/2007 - 22:00

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The skills shortage continues to affect the Western Australian workforce, with an all-time low unemployment rate and strong wage growth recorded for the past year.

Boom attracting interstate workers

The skills shortage continues to affect the Western Australian workforce, with an all-time low unemployment rate and strong wage growth recorded for the past year.

WA’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached 3.4 per cent in September 2007, up from 3.3 per cent in May and the all-time low of 2.8 per cent in April. Nationally, the unemployment rate remains steady at 4.2 per cent for the period.

According to the latest SEEK report, job seeking activity remained steady in September with the overall number of job applications rising by just 0.3 per cent.

WA experienced a 2.3 per cent increase in job applications, suggesting the resources boom may be attracting more applicants from other geographical areas.

In fact, businesses recruited more overseas workers in the 2006-07 financial year than the previous year, with the number of 457 visas granted surging by 25 per cent.

Section 457 visas allow employers to sponsor temporary migrants who can come to Australia for up to four years.

A study undertaken by the State Training Board says up to 17,800 additional skilled workers will be required in WA each year for the next 10 years to cope with the state’s increased workforce demand.

According to the forecast, those most in demand will be electrical and electronic tradespersons and mechanical engineering tradespersons.

The state’s wage price index continued to rise during the three months to June 2007, up by 1.7 per cent following a 1.1 per cent rise during the March quarter.

This defied the national trend, with growth in the national WPI slowing from 1.1 per cent to 0.8 per cent.

WA recorded the highest increase in the WPI, up 5.1 per cent, for the year to June, followed by Queensland and Tasmania , up 4.5 per cent.

Public sector wages grew 1.9 per cent in the latest quarter, marginally higher than the 1.6 per cent rise in private sector wages.

 

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