12/03/2015 - 12:21

Jobs can’t match WA population influx

12/03/2015 - 12:21

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More Western Australians were employed in February than ever before, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but that was not enough to stop a 0.2 per cent rise in the state’s unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent.

More people are looking for work in WA.

More Western Australians were employed in February than ever before, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but that was not enough to stop a 0.2 per cent rise in the state’s unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent.

More than 1.37 million Western Australians were employed in the month, up around 2,000 in trend terms and below the population increase of nearly 4,500.

Full-time employment was also up, to almost 978,000, while the number of unemployed persons increased by around 1,700, to 84,800.

The figures overall indicate that while the state is creating jobs, it isn’t enough to match increases to the population and workforce participation, which was 0.8 percentage points higher than this time last year at 69 per cent.

Nationally, unemployment fell slightly to 6.3 per cent.

St George Bank senior economist Janu Chan said across all states, a moderate pace of job growth was continuing.

“Domestic demand remains below a pace that would justify much stronger job gains,” he said.

“As such, there remains a risk that the unemployment rate will increase.

“The average monthly gains over the past three months stood at 13,000.

“If this pace of job growth continued, it would be insufficient to prevent the unemployment rate from rising a bit further.

“The soft pace of domestic demand and few signals for a further pickup in non-mining investment suggest another (interest rate) cut is likely in coming months.

‘‘We continue to favour May as the most likely timing.”

Commsec chief economist Craig James agreed that May would be more likely for a cut than April, with inflation data expected in late April.

“Leading indicators like job ads point to a better job market over 2015,” he said.

“But a solid improvement in the job market will require more confident employers.

“The sharp lift in hours worked in the past two months shows that businesses have got plenty of work to do, but at present they prefer to work existing staff more intensively rather than take on new staff.”

National job ad data, released by ANZ Banking Group, showed a ninth consecutive increase in advertising for the month.

For WA, numbers have tailed off substantially in the past six months, with newspaper ads particularly poor, 27.3 per cent lower in the year to February than previously.

Seek advertisements also fell towards the end of last year, but now appear to have ticked up at the beginning of 2015.

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