18/06/2009 - 00:00

Reluctance to shed staff: ACCI

18/06/2009 - 00:00

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EMPLOYERS are showing a reluctance to shed staff, despite the economic downturn, a leading business lobby group says.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting chief executive Greg Evans said the jobs market was showing resilience when compared with previous recessions.

"We are seeing a clear switch from full-time to part-time employment in many areas, and other flexibility measures in order to preserve employment," Mr Evans told reporters in Canberra.

Official data released last week showed the national jobless rate returned to a five-year high of 5.7 per cent in May - a level last reached in March - after the surprise fall in April.

The April outcome was revised up to 5.5 per cent from 5.4 per cent.

The total number of people employed fell by just 1,700 in May when economists were looking for a hefty 30,000 decline, with a 26,200 decrease in full-time workers all but offset by a 24,500 rise in part-time workers.

However, Mr Evans remains concerned of a longer-term deterioration in unemployment, given what has happened in leading indicators.

This showed job ads have dropped 50 per cent in the past year.

But he said expansionary monetary and fiscal policy to date had helped cushion the labour market.

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