Jobs news is all good

LESS than a month after Australia recorded its highest ever balance of trade deficit there was some good economic news for the Federal Government last week, with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing unemployment at a near 13-year low.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 per cent, the lowest it has been since 1990, according to the ABS.

General business expectations have risen strongly and this is reflected in the increase of 80,600 persons in employment in August, with 63,500 new full-time jobs and 17,100 part-time jobs created.

Confirming the buoyant employment climate, a survey by recruitment company Manpower found that 17 per cent of employers in Perth are expecting to take on more staff in the October to December quarter.

Despite the worst drought in a century, the effect of SARS, a weak international economy and the conflict in Iraq, the Australian economy is performing steadily.

Consumer sentiment remains strong.

Business expectations continued to strengthen in the September quarter, according to survey results from Westpac, with the proportion expecting an improvement in the general business situation in the next six month rising from 19 per cent to 25 per cent.

Overall economic growth should be strong in the second half of the year, the bank says.

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